By Philip Gardiner and Gary Osborn


                                                              A review by author John Baldock.


For centuries people have been intrigued by the mysterious objects known as the Holy Grail, the Elixir of Life, and the Philosopher's Stone. For many of us, these three enigmatic objects have their source in Arthurian legend, or in the curious work of the medieval alchemists who sought to transform base metals into gold. In the Serpent Grail, authors Gardiner and Osborn reveal that the origin of these legendary objects dates from a much earlier period – from the dawn of human history itself.


The culmination of many years research, The Serpent Grail takes the reader on a fascinating exploration of ancient myth, archaeology, etymology, religion, science, and much more. In keeping with true Grail tradition, the book is also a journey in search of the enlightenment and eternal life that were the reward for those who uncovered the secrets of the Grail, the Elixir, or the Stone. As the authors reveal, these three objects have their origin in the shamanic tradition and in the 'serpent cult' that was once a global religion. Contrary to modern belief, the serpent was not a symbol of evil. For our distant ancestors, it symbolized the beneficent life-force or source-centre of the universe. It also embodied the spiritual rebirth and enlightenment that are the birthright of us all. Moreover, the mysterious 'serpent beings' and 'serpent deities' of ancient myth were real people. They were the enlightened leaders and guides of the world's earliest civilizations.


But for our ancestors the mythical serpent was more than just a symbol of eternal life and enlightenment. The authors discovered that the serpent's physical counterpart – the snake – was greatly valued by the ancients for its venom and its ability to both kill and cure. Through neutralizing the natural poison in the venom by mixing it with blood, they developed an elixir –

the Elixir of Life – that not only healed disease, it also boosted the immune system and extended human life by many years. This elixir and its healing properties fell into disrepute in the nineteenth century thanks to the 'snake oil' peddled by charlatans. In our own time, however, modern medical science is once again discovering the beneficial properties of snake venom and other derivatives from the snake in the successful treatment of human disease.


The Serpent Grail is also a journey into the world of the shaman, whose knowledge of 'other worlds' was gained during his travels to the source of consciousness while in the hypnagogic trance-state. These travels, which were equated with entering the womb of the World Mother, gave him an understanding of the blueprint – the underlying matrix – of life itself. The knowledge thus gained by the shaman parallels the discoveries of modern science. But whereas scientists express their discoveries in scientific terms, the shaman expressed his knowledge in the form of myths about gods and goddesses, and in myths that eventually gave birth to the mysteries of the Grail, the Elixir of Life, and the Philosopher's Stone.


This groundbreaking book is illustrated with many original photographs taken during Gardiner's travels around the world in search of the truth behind the Grail, the Elixir, and the Stone. Knowing of the author's future works I can only say that you will need to fully grasp this book by the enlightened horns before you will be able to proceed.


Information About The Author

John Baldock is author of The Essence of Sufism and other titles





by Philip Gardiner and Gary Osborn

Watkins ($24.95) Hardcover.


For centuries, the Holy Grail has fascinated and frustrated those who have sought to understand it.

Theories abound as to the Grail’s identity and meaning, and in The Serpent Grail, authors Philip Gardiner and Gary Osborn

present an intriguing explanation of the Grail based on ancient serpent cults.        


Throughout folklore and sacred religious texts, the image of the serpent or snake figures prominently, often with sinister overtones. However, the authors show that in the ancient pagan rites that predate Christianity, the snake and its venom were essential components in ceremonies.


Snake venom was often mixed with blood in a ritualistic bowl —  which became the Grail of legend — in order to create a healing elixir that could enhance the human immune system.

It is no surprise, then, that the modern symbol of the medical profession is a staff with two entwined snakes.


Weaving archaeological history, such as the ancient mysteries of the Egyptian pyramids and the lost city of Atlantis with science, the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone, and the literary Grail romances of the medieval period, the authors offer a compelling new interpretation of the Holy Grail that will fascinate readers interested in pagan religions and ancient magical rites.                                                                                                                                                                   Joseph Lorrilo


Read the review by author Colin Wilson

The Serpent Grail

4511114045_141x215.jpg Review by Colin Wils

Preface written by Philip Gardiner.

Introduction by both authors.

Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 15 by Gary Osborn.

Chapters, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14 by Philip Gardiner.

Chapters 1, 7 and 12 are by both authors.

Appendix I and II written by Gary Osborn.

Appendix III written by Philip Gardiner.


Illustrations by Gary Osborn

Photographs by Philip Gardiner


Edited by John Baldock





I just want to say something. I have been re-reading Serpent Grail lately to get "up to speed" and I must say that without your input it would have been half a book. It is seriously the answer and it cannot be denied.

    You have made that book probably the most awe inspiring work of psychology and philosophy that there is out there.

    I am extremely proud to be associated with you my friend - well done. I simply cannot put into words the incredible insight and illumination that you have put into the book and I want you to know that you have gained more respect from me than I have for any man because of it.




Email to Gary Osborn from Philip Gardiner - April 21st, 2005, 10:55 PM - after his reading of the final Copy Proof of The Serpent Grail

Review of The Serpent Grail by John Evans at 'Spiritual Nirvana'.

January 23, 2006

Click here:

Review of The Serpent Grail by Jason Farrow for 'Gnostic Communications' February 6, 2006. 

Click here:






el grial y la Serpiente

 Spanish Edition of The Serpent Grail, August, 2006

Below is the Spanish Review translated into English . . . quite entertaining

The book that keeps awake the true origin of the Grial and that denies not only the Christian belief but also the alternative interpretations that has popularized the Code Gives Vinci.

The origin of the Grial, and also of the Elixir of Eternal Youth and the FIlosofal Stone, is much more old that the passion of Christ. Sumerio comes in fact from an old cult that expanded until becoming a global religion and that was based on the adoration of the serpent like deity.

In as old rite as the civilization, the initiates drank the mixture of the poison and the blood of the serpent of an earthen bowl that he gave in being called Grial. This elixir he did not not only kill to that he drank it, but that cured its diseases and fortified of such way the immunological system that it extended the life.

The concoction fell in disrepute in century XIX because of the "oil of serpent" that offered the prattlers, nevertheless, the modern medicine has proven the beneficial properties of the poison of serpent in successful treatments of human diseases.

One is really the Elixir of Eternal Youth?

The container of that the followers drank, was true Santo Grial?"

Cover of the Spanish Edition

The Serpent Grail: Writing Credits


The Serpent Grail reviewed in Dark Realm Magazine, USA, Issue 22: Spring 2006.

Review in Dark Realms Magazine, Issue 22, Spring, 2006

Review in NEXUS Magazine, Vol 12, No 6, October - November 2005


"The Serpent Grail is a challenging thesis that may force a re-examination of traditions we've perhaps taken too literally".

The search for the Holy Grail takes a surprising twist in this compelling book by Philip Gardiner with Gary Osborn, a fellow researcher of mystery traditions. While the romantic tales of Arthurian legend and the fabulous stories of Middle Ages alchemical feats retain some of the original truth, much of their factual detail has become lost in allegory and metaphor over time.


The intrepid authors felt they had to go further back, even beyond what historians regard as the first great civilisation, the Sumerian. What they found was a Grail heritage common to prehistoric cultures across the globe. And that heritage involved a serpent – or snake worshipping cult that even today has resonances in the major religions. Their research, taking in ancient myths, alchemy, anthropology, archaeology, etymology, mysticism, religion and more, reveals secrets about a triad of mystery: the Holy Grail, steeped in the physical realm: the Elixir of Life, bound up in the mental: and the Philiosopher’s Stone, the attainment – Superconsciousness itself.

This triad has its roots in shamanism, where mysterious potions were utilised to take the shaman to other planes of consciousness.


The medium, suggest the authors, was a mixture of snake venom and blood that in combination was not poisonous but produced intense visionary experiences and had healing properties. The snake was venerated for these qualities, and its ability to shed its skin symbolised rebirth. The ingredients were extracted using utensils such as a staff to collect the drips of venom, a knife to cut off the snake’s head, a bowl (perhaps a skull cap) to collect the venom and blood, and a plate to hold the dead snake. More recent esoteric traditions symbolise these artefacts in ritual wands, swords, cups and discs found in magickal rituals and the tarot deck.

The Serpent Grail is a challenging thesis that may force a re-examination of traditions we’ve perhaps taken too literally.

(which is November-December 2005 for the USA & Canada editions)

Cover of Nexus Magazine, Vol 12, No 6, Oct - Nov, 2005

"A difficult, complex work, it could well go on to have a lasting influence".                 

                                                                                                                  Colin Wilson

Reviews of the

Review of The Serpent Grail

by Stephen Andrews for 'The Temple Review'.

July, 2006.

Click here:

Preface written by Philip Gardiner from original version

Introduction written by Gary Osborn.

Chapters 1, 4, 11 by Gary Osborn with contributions

by Philip Gardiner

Chapters 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 by Gary Osborn.

Chapters 12, 13, 14 and 15 by Philip Gardiner.

Appendix by Gary Osborn and Philip Gardiner.


All Illustrations by Gary Osborn.

Photographs by Philip Gardiner


Edited by Peter Bently




The Shining Ones: Writing Credits