Sir Isaac Newton; A Giant of the Occult

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” – Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton

Heralded by many to be the foremost scientific mind in human history, Newton’s seat at the head of the class is challenged only by Albert Einstein.  Born 25 December 1642 (Julian calendar), Newton was an English physicist, mathematician and one of the most influential scientists in history.  He is most famously known for his book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (“Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”), commonly known only as Principia, but he was actually a prolific scientific author, publishing dozens of manuscripts and books on various scientific and political subjects. Newton’s achievements in the realm of science include:

  • Inventing calculus (in competition with Gottfried Leibniz, resulting in the Leibniz-Newton calculus controversy)
  • Demonstrating the prism effect and defining the spectrum of colour
  • Inventing the first reflecting telescope
  • Accurately describing the effect of gravity and formulating the Law of Universal Gravitation
  • Formulating the Laws of Motion
  • Contributing to the Formulation of the Laws of Thermodynamics

Newton held position as a fellow of Trinity College and was the second Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge.  Later in life he became the President of the Royal Society and held public office as a Warden and as the Master of the Royal Mint (where he helped develop many of the standard anti-counterfeiting measures still in place today.)

An 1874 engraving showing a probably apocryphal account of Newton's lab fire.
An 1874 engraving showing a probably apocryphal account of Newton’s lab fire.

These contributions to the advancement of human society are indeed laudable and awe inspiring, the genius of Newton dwarfs even the intellect of Stephen Hawking, yet he was, as many are unaware, captivated by an obsession with the occult.

At the height of his career, Newton wrote many works that would now be classified as occult studies; in fact there is some question about whether he valued his work in the occult over his scientific achievements.  He pursued the Fountain of Life and wrote extensively on Biblical Scripture, focusing on the apocalypse.

In fact Newton predicted the end of the world to occur not before the year 2060, as found scribbled in Newton’s hand on the back of a document in what is now known as the Yahuda collection.[1]

Newton was also fascinated by and wrote extensively on Chronology – which is the science of arranging historical and ancient events in their order of occurrence in time[2]– as well as the lost continent of Atlantis, and secret societies such as the Rosicrucians.  But most of his time was spent pursuing the lofty goal of the Philosopher’s Stone through the practise of alchemy.

alchemyNewton believed that it was in fact possible to change common metals into gold, and he believed that metals possessed a kind of life[3], thinking that the dendritic growth of silver from a solution, called a Diana’s Tree, was evidence in that regard.

In Newton’s time however, the church and the government alike banned the practise of alchemy, mostly to protect people from charlatans promising easy wealth.  But the English hierarchy also feared the devaluation of gold should these alchemists be successful in their quest.  Thus publishing works on his pursuit of alchemy would have put Newton’s freedom and life in jeopardy.  As a result much of his works on alchemy were never published and it is believed that a fire in his lab destroyed much of that work anyway.

During his alchemical period, as it commonly called, Newton suffered a nervous break-down that caused him to pull away from society at large for several years.  Many scholars believe that this episode might have been caused by accidental poisoning, whether by mercury, lead or some other element Newton might have used in his alchemical studies.

It is believed by some that Newton was a member of the Rosicrucians, the Priory of Scion (as made famous by Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code) or the Illuminati.  Some even believe that he may have been successful in turning a common metal into gold, giving such secret societies a means to dominate free markets and ultimately control the path of the populous into the future.  Though all published and available writings about or by Newton point to his efforts being for naught, it seems he did not succeed in his pursuit of alchemical supremacy.

Conspiracy theorists have latched onto Newton’s prediction of the end of the world, claiming that he found a secret code in the Bible, a series of equidistant letters that encoded prophetic events, such as 9/11, the JFK Assassination and several others.  Unfortunately for the conspiracy theorists, no evidence can be found in Newton’s writings to suggest that he was successful at deciphering the Bible Code, even though he came up with his 2060 apocalypse prediction through that process.

The colourful history of Sir Isaac Newton is a testament to the value of a scientific world-view.  His application of the scientific method brought about a revolution in scientific thinking, and one can’t help but wonder what was lost in his unpublished and destroyed writings on the occult.  Would we be further ahead in our pursuit of the unexplained had he not felt the oppression of smaller minds?  Newton was the giant on whose shoulders all scientists and occultists stand today.


[1] Snobelen, Stephen D. “A time and times and the dividing of time: Isaac Newton, the Apocalypse and A.D. 2060.”. The Canadian Journal of History. 38 (December 2003). pp. 537–551.

[3] “Isaac Newton and the Philosophers’ Stone“, Jane Bosveld, Discover Magazine, July/August, 2010

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