“He who eats of my flesh and drinks of my blood has eternal life, and I shall resurrect him on the last day. Because my flesh is truly a nourishment and my blood is truly a beverage.” John 6:47
Lots of cultures and religions believe that the soul lives in the blood, and by drinking the blood of anything you take that soul into you. If that sounds as archaic as storing important files in old jars and burying them in the desert for a thousand years, please remember that laboratories at Harvard and Stanford have published multiple studies demonstrating that academia is now showing this might be edging up against reality. As widely reported previously, laboratory tests performed involving blood rites — a kind of technological Eucharist — showed results with undeniable breakthroughs in longevity. And, as reporters have realized, perhaps there are implications of discovering immortality as well.
To recap, each study used two groups of mice, one elderly and one youthful; some involved transfusing blood from the babies into the elderly, others involved injecting specific proteins isolated from young mouse blood. No matter what the process, scientists discovered, young blood produced profound anti-aging signs in the old mice.
They could run mazes faster, like chariots of fire in their little wheels, and scientists found improvements in memory and learning, brain function, muscle strength and stamina — all symptoms of aging. And when they transfused blood from the young’uns to the fogies, scientists discovered the reverse: when a young mouse got old blood, it showed rapid signs of aging.
All of these experiments have so far been performed on rodents only, and scientists hope to begin research on humans soon. Still, while contemplating theories around and applications of live blood as the fountain of youth, certain insight may not exist in the future revelations of these studies, but rather, in the past.
The largest blood-drinking cult in all the world is that of Christ worship. All over America every Sunday — and elsewhere around the planet — people pretend to drink blood in order to become closer to God. By partaking in the Eucharist, or “holy communion,” the promise is that participants acquire divinity, immortality, and sinlessnes by absorption, by eating flesh and blood imbued with the qualities of God.
“We may thus take it that the death or ritual slaying of the divine man has for its primary object the acquisition of his qualities by communion in his flesh and blood.”
Most people on death row want fried food when they know it’ll be their last supper; not so much with Jesus and his original disciples. In this famous meal, they all want human flesh and blood, specifically that of their savior. When Jesus is changing water into wine and food into himself, he’s invoking the power of transubstantiation, a term likely invented by a Medieval archbishop and poet named Hildebert de Savardin — and he meant it quite literally. The importance of this alchemical process of actually altering matter in the Eucharist is described best by an unlikely source — none other than the beast himself, Aleister Crowley:
“One of the simplest and most complete of Magick ceremonies is the Eucharist. It consists in taking common things, transmuting them into things divine, and consuming them…Take a substance symbolic of the whole course of nature, make it God, and consume it. The magician becomes filled with God, fed upon God, intoxicated with God…Day by day matter is replaced by Spirit, the human by the divine; ultimately the change will be complete; God manifest in flesh will be his name. This is the most important of all magical secrets that ever were or are or can be.”
With the obvious “impossibility” of transubstantiation aside, it is important to view the opinions of the early church that this ritual was not metaphorical. This is referred to as the “doctrine of real presence” and asserts that Christ’s actual body and blood are truly what you are eating in the Eucharist.
Today many Christians will argue that the Bible never says this; however, it is explicitly stated in several passages (see Cor. 10:16–17, 11:23–29; and John 6:32–71) that the early Church Fathers interpreted these passages literally.
“Eucharistic teaching, it should be understood at the outset, was in general unquestioningly realist, i.e., the consecrated bread and wine were taken to be, and were treated and designated as, the Savior’s body and blood.”
Right after Jesus died, there was a lot of confusion amongst early Christians regarding what their savior had said and what he actually meant. While to this day many of those arguments still haven’t been resolved, it was even more chaotic during the initial, formative first 150 years of Christianity. Here’s where we find the first mention of “Gnostic” Christians, a seminal influence on the burgeoning religion:
“Primary among all the revelatory perceptions a Gnostic might reach was the profound awakening that came with knowledge that something within him was uncreated. The Gnostics called this ‘uncreated self’ the divine seed, the pearl, the spark of knowing: consciousness, intelligence, light. And this seed of intellect was the self-same substance of God.”
Gnostic enlightenment is rooted in experience and ritual, including those concerning the Eucharist. For a sect of the faith called the Phibionites, this involved elaborate orgies in which particpants consumed menstrual blood and semen. Epiphanius of Salamus, a Cyprus bishop and saint, in the fifth century AD compiled an epic treatise on various blasphemies against Christianity in an attempt to define what the religion really was. According to his research (read: time for that grain of salt reserved for reasoning), any fetuses conceived in these activities were ripped from the uterus and eaten. Same goes for any infants who managed to slip through the birth canal.
Whether or not they ate babies, there’s enough evidence to show they did ritualistically incorporate menses and semen. If everything contains the light of God, they reasoned, they were collecting and unifying the energies of the universe by devouring everything. Especially potent were the purest forms of life: the blood and seed that creates it, and the very youngest of cells animated into existence. This was the ultimate “unio mystica,” the final stage of the mystical path in uniting with God.
And if we believe these further accounts, to procreate in times of ritual, in their minds, was to disseminate and scatter universal energy, which made God’s work so much more difficult. Some may consider ritual blood sacrifice of this nature the work of black magic. It’s a matter of perspective.
When Epiphanius spread the word of the Phibionites, the orthodox Christian church condemned and expelled them. By the middle of the second century, Christians and Gnostics had officially split, and the former kicked out the latter for being heretics. It’s worth noting that these fundamental Gnostic services invoked phrases that are almost the same as the ones used today in many Protestant Eucharistic formalities.
While the Old Testament’s Kosher laws state that the drinking and eating of blood is expressly forbidden, it’s one of few omnivore cultures in history around the world to follow this decree. When we examine the word bless, we find its proto-Germanic roots mean literally to “hallow or mark with blood.” And most people eat these blessings all the time, and from many different kinds of animals.
As taboo as it is, plenty of cultures have and do actively practice cannibalism and consume the flesh of human beings. The practicing cannibal is implementing the same ideas as one eating the Eucharist, consciously believing he will become imbued with the powers of the soul of the person he is ingesting. To the savage, this action is no less holy than the primly dressed Christian taking communion on a Sunday.
Somehow the primitive mind was not so unlike that of the modern, city-faring Christian in its ability to understand that the powers and life force of another could be transubstantiated in a communion-like ritual. As upsetting as this may be to the Christian reader (and likely many who practice another or no religion at all), it is indicative more of the truth and perceived power of the Eucharist. As appalling as it is to believe we could eat one another’s souls, it is in fact that very idea that undergoes serious attention every Sunday on many avenues in America. Furthermore, this ancient practice extends back further in history, way before Jesus, in primal acts and funerary customs around the world.
For decades archaeologists and anthropologists have been trying to figure out what really happened to the Neanderthals. Their genetic strain died off, succumbing to Homo Sapiens — but why? Was it climate shift, migration missteps, or poor survival skills? Or did Homo Sapiens have something to do with it? While there isn’t evidence of ritual killings or genocide, there’s enough for one emergent theory: ancient modern humans may have hunted and eaten Neanderthals. Interestingly, the species that was eaten, scientists have discovered by isolating chemical compounds in ancient feces, were mostly vegetarians.
Of course cannibalism isn’t isolated to eating flesh — there’s a whole popular subdivision of cannibals who specifically drink blood. Usually known as sanguine vampires, they’re cannibals in the truest sense of the word, consuming other people to gain immortality. Drinking blood, the vampire believes it is taking the soul of the victim.
Vampires have been enjoying their time in the sun (so to speak) for years now, celebrated in books, TV shows, film, and dark journals of goth youth around the globe. While it seems there’s no escaping them in contemporary culture, these blood drinkers can be found in societies everywhere, extending way far into history. Dating from the 17th century back several hundred years, European apothecaries would commonly dispense cures containing blood, bones, and fat to anyone with financial means, including priests, royalty, and scientists. Those who couldn’t afford expensive tinctures or powders or poultices scavenged battlefields and executions, often drinking blood directly from a freshly killed human vein.
Perhaps the most mysterious and horrifying prototype for the vampire, from which it seems all vampire legends find their origins, comes in the form of none other than a mother who devours her children in order that she may live forever.
Her name is Lilith and she was the original baby-eating vampire, a myth that gave us many of the activities associated with the contemporary vampire, namely shape shifting. Lilith was a Dracula-type who shape shifted into a nocturnal, flying, sanguinary animal.
Existing mainly in Semitic cultures, Lilith showed up for the Sumerians as Kiskil-lilla, the Akkadians as Lilitu, and the Babylonians as Lili. The Hebrew name of Lilith is translated as either “night” or “spirit of the air,” and in many stories of her origins she was portrayed as a storm demon. Later, her myth altered her to a winged demon associated with darkness and sky, where Lilith took the form of a screech owl and visited bedrooms at night to kill children, suck the blood of pregnant women, and seduce susceptible men into sex so she could propagate demonic children. (A similar type of female character shows up in non-Phibionite early Gnostic texts as an unnamed demon who eats sperm.)
In many accounts she was also fond of male babies before they were circumcised,  which may explain the contemporary ritual of brit milah, where a male rabbi removes the Jewish infant’s foreskin and then sucks blood from the wound. Perhaps there is some long-lost esoteric connection to protecting the child from the evils of lady Lilith by sucking the blood before she does.
In many countries today you can find anti-Lilith amulets around the necks of children, or plaques above their beds reading “Lilith — abi!” or, “Lilith, go away,” a phrase from which the word “lullaby” was derived.
The Lilith mythology was further developed as time passed in Jewish folklore in the form of the Estries, a lower group of women demons who were vicious and indiscriminate in their bloodlust.
The Estrie, included among the incorporeal sprits, was none the less [sic] also a woman, a flesh and blood member of the community. In either guise her character was that of a vampire, whose particular prey was little children, though she did not disdain at times to include grown ups in her diet.
Since we can find in the word “estrie” the origins of “estrus,” the process of menstruation, it becomes quite difficult to ignore then the fact that early on, in recorded history at least, vampires were all women. Women, who bleed once a month. Is it possible that these women running around, stealing semen and drinking blood, could somehow be related to the natural occurrence of menstruation?
Each ovum of the woman that falls with the menses is a potential child that was not fertilized by the sperm. So maybe these stories of eating babies — perhaps even those relayed about the early activities of the Eucharist — may actually refer to an un-fertilized egg that departs the womb in the bloody exit it makes from the bodies of all would-be mothers, spun into a tale that demonizes the feminine through widespread folklore.
And then there’s the practice of placentophagy, or eating the placenta of one’s own childbearing process. Participants of placentophagy believe they will gain ephemeral postpartum benefits such as increased breast milk supply, energy increase, age prevention, and mood elevation by eating this iron- and nutrient-rich shared membrane interface between mother and child. While that may be true, some would consider this an act of cannibalism. The placenta, technically, is a child’s very first developed organ, as the tissue mostly carries the fetus’s genome. Mostly. That means it’s borderline self-cannibalism, too.
While ritual self-vampirism may sound like an activity reserved for the most macabre of the horror film genre, it’s a practice in medicine that’s becoming more widely accepted each year. The only difference is that instead of eating through the mouth, one’s own blood is drawn out and refreshed, dosed with various chemicals, then fed back to the body via syringe as “biological drugs.”
Biological drugs have been around since the 1990s but made their big debut into the American lexicon in 2009 through a cosmetic procedure called Selphyl®. Phonetically, that’s pronounced self-fill, and it describes exactly what’s going on — it uses the body’s own materials to pad sunken, folded, or wrinkled places on the face in order to promote a rejuvenated appearance. Known in common parlance as “the Vampire Facial,” this entails having blood drawn from one’s arm, then spun in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets and plasma in a process known as PRP therapy. This is then mixed with calcium chloride, a reactive agent that turns the potent liquid into a goo called Platelet Rich Fibrin Matrix (PRFM), and injected into one’s face, with the hope of stimulating new collagen production.
When there’s injury in the body, platelets come to the rescue. When they receive their signals from blood vessels, they respond by migrating to the area to initiate and boost healing. The idea behind PRP-based therapies’ efficacy is that the super-rich concentration of platelets enhances the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Kobe Bryant’s knee gave biological drugs a more noble cause. We learned through Grantland that in 2012, suffering from grinding arthritis, he’d traveled to Germany to receive a type of under-the-radar treatment that is still undergoing approval in the US. After at least two treatments of another form of PRP therapy called Reginokine — think PRFM, only with different chemical additives — the then-34-year-old reportedly told his famous baseball-playing buddy Alex Rodriguez that he felt like he was 27 years old again.
Since these types of biological drugs depend entirely on human blood, which is completely unique to each individual, it would be impossible to regulate as a product. Instead, what defines each drug is the process, the precise manner in which the blood and/or genetic material is treated and modified. These types of procedures are in legal limbo in the United States as the FDA figures out exactly how to regulate and classify them and their inevitable generic offshoots, though still in practice and likely well on their way toward sanctity. This could mark a definitive shift from doctors as healers into craft mixologists, perfecting their technique of creating artisanal blood-and-chemical cocktails.
The word “alcohol” is derived from the same place as the modern word “ghoul”: from a class of ancient demonic spirits in Arabia called “Algul.”  Much like Lilith, the Alguls were traditionally female vampires who ate people they came across in the desert, particularly children. Ghouls most likely first showed up in English literature in 1786, an acknowledged appropriation of the Arabic creature that would hang around cemeteries, eating the dead and feeding off the blood of the living. Sometimes, they also possessed the bodies of those unlucky enough to stumble inside their periphery. This legend became transferred onto those overtaken with drunkenness, and while in this state were thought to be possessed by a ghoul.
In some cases, drunkenness was holy, like in Bacchian pursuits, and when enjoying a special kind of Greek wine known as Ambrosia. Known for conferring qualities of immortality, in several passages of Greek myths Ambrosia is ceremoniously coated on those who know of its powers. Hera, the alpha wife of Zeus and commonly known as a mother archetype and punisher of adultery, performs this task. Here, the Ambrosia is called “the wine of Hera.” This “supernatural red wine,” as the Greeks euphemistically referred to it, of Mother Hera was associated with the moon and the maternal “blood of life.” It doesn’t take much stretch of the imagination to see here an obvious reference to menstrual blood.
If plain ol’ regular blood contained magical affiliations, what kind of supreme powers might be found in the blood that was responsible for holding the possibility of the creation of a new life? The blood in the uterus gathers for no other reason than to nourish and create a new human being. This holds a lot of mojo, no matter how you look at it.
Ancient Egyptian literature also made allusions to menstrual blood conferring immortality. They called it the holy blood of Isis, or “Sa.” Although there is much dispute as to what exactly the “Sa” was, it can’t be ignored that the blood of Isis could have been menstrual, as she was worshipped as the mother goddess of ancient Egypt. Plus, its associated symbol was very similar to the ankh, the hieroglyph depicting life, only with its arms folded down upon themselves, looking very much like the feminine reproductive system.
When Sa was smeared on the pharaohs’ bodies and drank, it made them immortal. Known as The Egyptian Great Mother’s “wise blood,” it was said to contain intelligence itself. The Egyptian Sa can further be described as follows:
“The sa, a mysterious fluid, circulated through their members, and carried with it divine vigor; and this they could impart to men, who thus might become gods. Many of the Pharaohs became deities. The king who wished to become impregnated with the divine Sa sat before the statue of the god in order that this principle might be infused into him. The gods were spared none of the anguish and none of the perils which death so plentifully bestows on men.” 
According to Gaston Maspero, a French Egyptologist and preservationist of antiquities whose discoveries in the mid-1800s included major heiroglyhpic translations and ultimately unearthing the Sphinx, the Sa made a kind of “superman” out of all who partook of it. The more that the participants rubbed it all over their bodes, the more they transformed into metal, their bones congealing and their skin getting harder, until eventually they were completely impenetrable. Even their hair became as a rock. They were incorruptible.
Much of this information went underground due of course to its freaky nature. It is difficult for some folks to feel comfortable purchasing tampons at a grocery store, much less reveling in the primal power contained within the blood of the female period. But it’s re-emerging again in a more clinical and less ritualistic practice as regenerative medicine research hits a frenzy.
Storage banks are opening up to cryo-preserve discarded uterine contents, including menstrual and umbilical cord blood and umbilical cord tissue. These primal materials, it turns out, are a fantastically rich source of stem cells and are quite precious to the medical community. Menstrual blood in particular is highly sought after, as it contains undifferentiated and pure form of stem cells that are multi-potent and can be applied to myriad healing purpose.
These stem cells have zero prior programming and are therefore able to change into vibrant and various cell types — such as heart, nerve, bone, cartilage, and fat — with no evidence (as of yet) of immune or viral repercussion. Furthermore, the stem cells in menstrual blood seem to exhibit amazing behavior towards embryo stem cells. The cells kind of “mother” the embryo cells by feeding them and helping them grow.
So not only is this blood the ultimate harbor for life, it also contains the secret sauce to regenerate existing life. Clearly these ancient menses worshipping cultures were onto something.
Of the many forms the archetype of the cannibal and vampire assumes, along now with the scientist, the consistent message is that life force at the onset of its existence is key. Ingesting young blood, whether through an actual person, stem cells, or by rejuvenated blood spun out to feel young, some quality of immortality may be achieved. Noticing these trends occurring throughout time and in our present day culture is in no way advocating these practices, but rather acknowledging a gigantic shadow humanity has harbored, and few are willing to face. And while the savagery of it all can be quite the bummer, remember that the first thing we all eat as we enter this mortal plane is a biological extension of our mothers.
It’s silly to go on pretending that under the skin we are all brothers. The truth is more likely that under the skin we are all cannibals, assassins, traitors, liars, hypocrites, poltroons. -Henry Miller
Portions of this article excerpted from Devouring God, forthcoming radical non-fiction on diet and immortality by Maja D’Aoust and Liz Armstrong.
 “The Blood Is the Life” Deuteronomy 12:23
 Tree of Life pg. 107 Alfred Ernest Crawley
 From Magic in Theory and Practice, Aleister Crowley Chapter 20; Of the Eucharist and the Art of Alchemy
 Early Christian Doctrines, 440 J. N. D. Kelly
 Vigilae Christianae, Vol. 21, No. 2, May, 1967, Stephen Benko
 Trachtenberg, Joshua. 2004. Jewish Magic and Superstition. University of Pennsylvania Press pg 37
 The Hamsa
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 Journal of the American Temperance Union, Volumes 12–14.pg. 35 1848
 Summers, Montague. “The Vampire; His Kith and Kin” 1928
 Walker, Barbara G, The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, New York, HarperCollins, 1983, p, 27
 Maspero, Gaston. 1894. The Dawn of Civilization Egypt and Chaldea. London