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The Cremation of Care - Part I


The Cremation of Care - Part II

Cremation of Care at Bohemian Grove, was secretly videotaped by Alex Jones and British journalist, Jon Ronson on July 15, 2000. The ceremony gives insight to the inner beliefs of the high priests who devised the ritual, and those of the powerful elite - the most powerful politicians and top ranking international businessmen who attend.[1]

Full transcript[]

The Sire

Bohemians, by the power of our fellowship,
Dull care is slain.
High up the hill you may hear Care's funeral music.

[Tolling of the bell and faint, far strains of the funeral dirge (DENKE). Torches are glimpsed in the distance. Music and light approach]

The Sire

Behold, the effigy of this, our enemy, is carried hither for our ancient rites.

[Music ceases. Drumbeat accompanies the descent of cortege. The cortege passes through the dinning circle and down the main isle as the Band and the effigy of Care proceed down the road to the floor of the Grove. When the torch bearers are leaving the dining circle, followed by the Old Guard]

The Sire announces Bohemians, follow to Bohemia's Shrine!

[The band resumes the funeral dirge (Denke). The band turns into the traffic road, where it continues to play; the spectators pass to their seats opposite the shrine, through the two columns of the Torch Bearers who flank the path to Edwards Road. The shrine is bathed in the soft, flickering light from the lamp of fellowship. The radiance of the rising full moon touches the crown of Hamadryad's tree. Offstage chorus of woodland voices. The Hamadryad emerges from the bark. Music by Jan Philip Schirhan and W.J. McCoy]

The HAMADRYAD singing

Beauty, and strength and peace,
They are yours; they shall never cease
While the trees are, and the hills.
The stars come in with the night,
And the wind, like a presence, fills
The temple-aisles of the wood;
It is yours, it is good,
It is made for your delight.
Beauty, and strength and peace,
They are here that you find release
From the mournful memories
Oh, cast your grief to the fire.
And be strong with the holy trees
And the spirit of the Grove.
In your dreams you shall rove
To the land of Hearts Desire. (Sterling)

[the Hamadryad retires into the tree. The illumination fades. The shrine is now in full moonlight. Enter, accompanied by the music of Charles Hart, the High Priest, Assisting Priests, and choristers]

The High Priest

The owl is in his leafy temple; let all within the Grove be reverent before him.
Lift up your heads, O ye Trees, and be ye lift up, ye ever-living spires.
For behold, here is Bohemia's Shrine and holy are the pillars of this house.
Weaving spiders, come not here!

[The High Priest descends to the water's edge]

Hail Bohemians!
With ripple of waters and the song of birds.
Such music as inspires the sinking soul.
Do we invite you to Midsummer's joy!
The sky above is blue and sown with stars;
The forest floor is heaped
with fragrant drift;
Evenings cool kiss is yours,
The campfire's glow,
The birth of joyous rosy- fingered dawns!
Shake of all your sorrows with
the City's dust
And scatter to the winds the cares of life!

Second Priest

Let memory bring back the well-loved names
Of gallant friends who knew and loved this Grove.
Dear boon companions of long ago!

Third Priest

Aye! They shall join us in this ritual
And not a place be empty in our midst!

The High Priest

O Beauty's vassals
Who keep, in this gray autumn of the world,
Her springtime in your hearts,
I charge ye all:
For lasting happiness we lift our eyes
To one alone, and she surrounds you now,
Great Nature, refuge for the weary heart
And only balm for breasts that have been bruised,
Her counsels are most wise.
But ye must come
As children, little children that believe,
Nor ever doubt her beauty or her faith,
Nor dream her tenderness can change or die! (STERLING)

[Soft music by Edward Harris as the High Priest ascends to be invested]

Second Priest

Gather, Ye forest fold, and cast your spells Over these mortals.

Third Priest

Touch their world-blind eyes with fairy unguents.

Second Priest

Open their eyes of fancy
And seal the gates of sorrow.

Third Priest

Dull Care and all his works are but a dream;
As vanished Babylon and goodly Tyre
So they shall vanish.

Second Priest

But the wilding rose
Blows on the broken battlements of Tyre
And mosses rend the stones of Babylon-

Third Priest

For Beauty is eternal and we bow
to Beauty everlasting! (irwin)

The High Priest

Our funeral pyre awaits the corpse of Care.

[The Barcarolle by Charles Hart. The introductory horn solo comes from the direction of the ferry slip. The ferry of Care, poled by a lone boatman, appears and passes up the lake to the foot of the shrine. Acolytes await the barge]

The High Priest:

Oh thou, thus ferried ‘cross the shadowy tide
In all the ancient majesty of death
Dull Care, arch-enemy of Beauty; not for thee
The tender tribute and the restful grave,
But fire shall have its will of thee
And all the winds make merry with thy dust! (sterling)
Bring fire!

[Fanfare of music by Leigh Harline. Enter the torch bearers. The Acolytes now seize and lift the beir from the barge, hold it high above their heads and bear it in triumph up to the pyre, accompanied by the choristers. The music is interrupted by the peals of thunder and rush of wind. The ensemble stands transfixed with surprise and awe. All lights down, except torches and the lamp.Care laughs upon the hill. The dead tree is illuminated]


Fools! Fools! Fools!
When will ye learn that me ye cannot slay?
Year after year ye burn me in this Grove, lifting your silly shouts of
triumph to the stars.
But when again ye turn your feet toward the
market-place, am I not waiting for you, as of old?
Fools! Fools! Fools!
To dream ye conquer Care!

[The High Priest has come down to the lake's edge and stands gazing up at the ghostly tree from which the voice of Care has come]

The High Priest

Nay, thou mocking spirit, it is not all a dream.
We know thou waitest
for us when this our sylvan holiday shall end.
And we shall meet and
fight thee as of old,
and some of us prevail against thee,
and some thou
shalt destroy.
But this, too, we know: year after year, within this
happy Grove,
our fellowship has banned thee for a space, and thy malevolence
that would pursue us here has lost its power beneath these
friendly trees.
So shall we burn thee once again this night and in the flames
that eat thine effigy we'll read the sign:
Midsummer set us free.


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

[Explosions at the Pyre. The torches are instantly extinguished. No light save from the lamp. Care's laughter fills the darkness. The High Priest kneels and lifts his arm to the shrine]

The High Priest

O thou, great symbol of all mortal wisdom, Owl of Bohemia, we do beseech thee,
Grant us thy counsel!

[The music of Fire Finale begins, offstage. An aura of light begins to glow about the Owl's head, gradually silhouetting the colossus]


No fire, if it be kindled from the world
Where Care is nourished on the hates of men
Shall drive him from this Grove.

One flame alone

Must light this pyre, the pure eternal flame
That burns within the Lamp
of Fellowship
Upon the altar of Bohemia. (GARTHWAITE)

[High Priest rises and ascends to Lamp of Fellowship]

The High Priest

Great Owl of Bohemia, we thank thee for thy adjuration.

[lights torch and turns toward Pyre]

Well should we know our living flame
Of Fellowship can sear
The grasping claws of Care,
Throttle his impious screams
And send his cowering carcass
From this Grove.
Begone, detested Care, begone!
Once more we banish thee!
Let the all potent spirit of this lamp
By its cleansing and ambient fire
Encircle the mystic scene
Hail Fellowship; begone Dull Care!
Once again Midsummer sets us free!


  1. Bohemian Grove, Cremation of Care - Full Transcript, posted by Milo (), February 04, 2007