The depiction of dark forces is almost omnipresent in today’s most well-known music industry acts. Why are these ominous messages promoted? Where does this dark influence come from? This article examines the hierarchy of evil influence in the music industry, delving into sources of darkness usually hidden from view.
“We have reached a period in the history of the world when ignorance is criminal and deserves the heaviest penalty. Ignorance is not black magic, but it is the greatest ally that the black magician has in the world today”.
– Manly P. Hall
In the first two parts of this series we looked at the way positive esoteric symbols have been distorted and used as symbols of evil, bringing darkness into the homes and lives of millions by their persistent use in popular culture. We also looked at the agenda in the music industry to promote the dark side, and the way darkness is glorified and indulged. But what is behind all these depictions of evil? Is there a conscious dark intelligence guiding the direction of the music industry? Or are artists just cashing in on the latest in-fashion craze?
Let’s take a trip down the music industry’s dark occult rabbit hole.
Music is about communicating ideas and emotion
Music undoubtedly has a huge impact upon us. Music can help us be happier, it can inspire and uplift us, but the wrong kind of music can make us angry, aggressive or depressed. We may feel drawn to listening to particular types of music and then resonate with the lyrics and the visuals which accompany it, often with a song playing in our heads throughout the day. But how often do we stop to think about where the ideas we are consuming come from?
There is nothing accidental about the music industry, even in its perceived rebellion against accepted ideas. Everything is scripted, choreographed and carefully constructed to have a particular impact, pervading the culture we are immersed in every day.
“Artists, creations and ideas that do not fit the mainstream way of thinking are mercilessly rejected and forgotten by the conglomerates, which in turn makes them virtually disappear from society itself. However, ideas that are deemed to be valid and desirable to be accepted by society are skillfully marketed to the masses in order to make them become self-evident norm”.
– Vigilant Citizen Source
To this end, researchers have discovered that we don’t always like music for the reasons that we think. The more we are exposed to a song – even unconsciously – the more the pleasure centres in our brain respond to it, even if it is not a good fit for our usual musical tastes. So while it may seem that certain songs are played over and over on the radio because they’re popular, it’s often the case that they’re popular simply because we are exposed to them so often.
Record companies can therefore easily control which artists become successful, and by association what values become ingrained in our subconscious and popular culture through saturation and repeated exposure.
In many instances the depictions of darkness we consume are displayed in a subliminal manner through costumes, staging, and video clips. Studies have shown that subliminal messaging does work, and that we are able to perceive the emotional value of subliminal messages particularly when those messages are negative. But in a lot of cases this symbolism is right in our faces, with nothing subliminal about it. How much more powerful then is this influence?
This subliminal and overt indoctrination appears to be part of a global experiment in darkness, where we are being programmed to accept and even appreciate dark values through mass exposure.
But where is this message coming from? Is it coming from the artists themselves, the directors of their videos, or the producers of shows like the Grammys, the Super Bowl half time show and the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs)? Is it coming from the owners of companies or from their affiliations with secretive and occult groups? Could it even be coming from the forces of darkness themselves beyond this world?
This goes deeper than religion
“Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction is obliged to stick to the possibilities; truth is not.”
– Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)
While religious values are often portrayed in a negative light in the work of popular artists, I personally don’t believe this is about religion as much as it is a wider campaign throughout society – also encompassing fashion, entertainment, the media and politics, where spiritual and esoteric values are being eroded and replaced with values of darkness.
Esoteric societies have existed throughout time, long before the advent of Christianity which many believe is the target of the negative symbolism in popular culture today. Despite many Christians seeing everything esoteric as evil and Satanic, this is not the case. Esotericism has a benevolent history with ancient civilisations such as the early Egyptians and other sun worshipping cultures basing much of their culture and architecture around sacred esoteric principles.
Unfortunately, as cultures degenerate and spiritual schools are infiltrated by darkness, positive esoteric symbols become mixed with negative ones. As a result many of the remnant secret societies we are left with today such as the Freemasons and Rosicrucians, while appearing to have a basis in positive esotericism, now also contain practices and teachings of darkness and materialism, which affects the perception of esoteric spirituality as a whole.
“Throughout history the knowledge has been split into three kinds: white (light), black (darkness) and grey (a mixture). White knowledge has been continuously infiltrated and attacked by dark forces and its reputation muddied and lost, thus many sacred deities and spiritual principles became seen as black, while dark forces such as Baal were seen as spiritual.
Dark forces and ceremonies have existed alongside white esoteric knowledge, obscuring and confusing their meanings to the public. Secret societies of dark knowledge exist to this day, having passed through centuries largely undetected, yet accumulating power. They use the symbols of knowledge of light but invert them.
Grey esotericism is practiced by those who don’t know what they are doing. Many modern day secret societies, some established in the public arena, societies with clear financial and other non-spiritual agendas and popular Satanism, are examples of this.
Today dark esoteric knowledge has come to thrive to the virtual exclusion of white knowledge. It’s easier to achieve results in dark knowledge – it brings power, wealth, fame, and pleasure. Whereas white knowledge is difficult to attain – it requires suffering and sacrifice, often poverty and brings wisdom, peace, love and liberation, qualities that most readily drop in favor of pleasure, power and darkness”.
This may be part of the agenda of darkness to confuse and alter the message of positive esotericism to such a degree that it is almost impossible for anyone searching for the light to find it.
For many artists and those in the music industry’s hierarchy of influence above them, this appears to go well beyond the realms of religion to personal experience of forces beyond this physical world. Unfortunately they appear to be in touch with the dark side rather than the light.
“Some understanding of the intricate theory and practice of ceremonial magic may be derived from a brief consideration of its underlying premises.
First. The visible universe has an invisible counterpart, the higher planes of which are peopled by good and beautiful spirits; the lower planes, dark and foreboding, are the habitation of evil spirits and demons under the leadership of the Fallen Angel and his ten Princes.
Second. By means of the secret processes of ceremonial magic it is possible to contact these invisible creatures and gain their help in some human undertaking. Good spirits willingly lend their assistance to any worthy enterprise, but the evil spirits serve only those who live to pervert and destroy”.
– Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of all Ages
“There is a beast in man that should be exercised, not exorcised.”
― Anton Szandor LaVey
There are many connections that can be seen between the music industry and groups such as the Church of Satan who focus on the indulgence of the animalistic aspects of human nature, but also incorporate many negative or inverted spiritual symbols in their work and rituals.
Here’s what Nikolas Schreck – husband of former Satanic high priestess Zeena Schreck (LaVey) and son-in-law of Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey – had to say in the 1980s about how musical frequencies could be considered a useful vehicle to promote dark values due to their popularity with the youth. This video is about 2 minutes of a longer interview in which he also talked about a coming new world order:
30 years later it seems that some music is being used in the way outlined by Schreck. Take the 2001 MTV VMA performance by Britney Spears of “I’m a Slave 4 U” where she dances carrying a huge python, imagery reminiscent of Satanic rituals, both real and imagined. The tempting serpent is synonymous with evil which caused humanity to fall and lose its innocence.
Satanic influence is also clearly visible in actor / director / musician James Franco’s clip for Love in the Old Days (NSFW) by his band Daddy. The clip represents, in Franco’s own words, the “marriage of hell” and re-enacts a real Satanic ritual called Das Tierdrama. This ritual is said to have been based on the book the Island of Dr Moreau by HG Wells where half-human half-animal hybrids are created in strange scientific experiments, leading the protagonist to understand when he goes back to society how close to becoming animals humans really are.
The video clip for Love in the Old Days was inspired by and featured Kenneth Anger as the main “priest”. Anger was a lifelong friend of Anton LaVey and a disciple of a Aleister Crowley. He directed the movie Lucifer Rising in which Lucifer is summoned in order to bring about a new occult age. Anger said of the movie: “I’m a pagan and the film is a real invocation of Lucifer … The film contained real black magicians, a real ceremony, real altars, real human blood, and a real magic circle” Source.
Although Franco has stated that he was mainly interested in the aesthetic of the ritual, his interest in the occult appears to go beyond that. In his own words he sees Kenneth Anger as the “priest of darkness”, and partook with Anger in a re-enactment of the “Bartzabel Working” ritual used by Aleister Crowley to invoke the spirit of Mars, where Franco acted as the “base material” – the vessel that the spirit would manifest through. Source
Even at the beginning of rock music there was a Satanic influence, with the Rolling Stones naming their 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request. Lead singer of the Stones Mick Jagger also composed the score of a later film by Kenneth Anger that starred Anton LaVey called “Invocation of My Demon Brother”. Interestingly the Queen has held an audience with Mick Jagger, and he has even been granted a knighthood!
Of course, the many theories online about Satanic influence in popular music have been mocked by high-profile stars such as Conan O’Brien, who opened the 2014 MTV Movie Awards by stating “Welcome to the satanic cult awards ladies and gentleman. All hail the dark lord” (cheers and laughter from the audience). He has also joked on his show about the controversy surrounding Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2012 which many believe contained Satanic symbolism. This is somewhat ironic as O’Brien has been a featured speaker at the Bohemian Grove which performs rituals that harken back to the days of worshipping demonic gods with child sacrifice.
Aleister Crowley, the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) and the Golden Dawn
If you have ever looked into the occult you’ve probably come across Aleister Crowley, a man who has had a huge impact on Western occultism through the OTO and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Although he did not found these organisations he has played a pivotal role in the direction of their message, introducing black practices and teachings. If you haven’t heard of Crowley, you may be surprised just how much influence this man – who proclaimed himself “The Great Beast” and signed his name with three sixes – has had upon the music industry.
Crowley advocated the use of hard drugs in magical rituals in order to create the “breakage of consciousness” and was known to evoke demons to do his bidding. Using bodily fluids and faeces in his rituals he misused and abused ancient eastern tantric practices (which he had only limited first-hand knowledge of) as part of initiation rites. Through the propagation of his own perverse form of “sex magic”, Crowley is largely responsible for popular misrepresentations of Tantra, a complex and varied eastern tradition centred on seeking spiritual liberation, which in the West has largely been adulterated and divorced from any wider spiritual context and made almost solely about sex and seeking increased sexual pleasure.
Crowley styled himself as the Antichrist and was labelled by the press the “wickedest man alive”. He owned a mansion in Scotland named after the demon Baal (the Boleskine mansion), who was worshipped with child sacrifice by ancient cultures which had degenerated.
Crowley made multiple attempts at impregnating women – which he called his Scarlet Women – with a “moonchild”, evoking the whore of Babylon into their womb to create a living Anti-Christ. His most well known text, central to his teachings, was the Book of the Law. He received guidance to write this book from a being he called Aiwass, his “guardian angel”. Aiwass reportedly gave Crowley some rather strange advice if it was truly coming from an “angel”:
“To worship me take wine and strange drugs … LUST, enjoy all things of sense and rapture. Fear not that any God shall deny thee for this.” Source
He is perhaps most well known however for his dictum “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” and spoke about “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will”. As opposed to white magicians who respect freewill, the Divine, and natural laws, black magicians use the power of their personal will in order to break natural laws, gain power and fulfil their desires without regard for people’s freewill, the divine will or for universal laws.
“A black magician is one who seeks to gain authority over spiritual powers by means of force rather than by merit …
The black magician is firmly of the belief that he knows what he needs, when in reality he only knows what he wants. He seeks to mold the Plan into his own desires …
Age after age, the wants of man destroy him. In ignorance he plays with fire; in thoughtlessness he ignores the immutable laws of nature, and then wonders why the tempests break about his head … He neither obeys the laws of force, nor recognizes that cause and effect rule all things; that day after day, he reaps misery as the harvest of thoughtlessness …
Nowhere is black magic more apparent than in the modern phases of religion. In both the new and old doctrines, instead of emphasizing the will of the Logos [God] as the law of men, students have been taught to demand of the Infinite, and that He will obey”.
– Manly P Hall, Magic: A Treatise on Esoteric Ethics
The OTO appears to be esteemed in celebrity circles and many music industry artists have been inspired by Crowley’s work.
In David Bowie’s song ‘Quicksand’ he says:
“I’m closer to the Golden Dawn
Immersed in Crowley’s uniform of imagery”.
In 1976 he stated:
“My overriding interest was in cabbala and Crowleyism. That whole dark and rather fearsome never–world of the wrong side of the brain.” Source
He also stunned the world when in a 1976 Rolling Stone interview he said:
“Rock has always been the devil’s music . . . I believe rock and roll is dangerous . . . I feel we’re only heralding something even darker than ourselves.” Source
Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin is said to have performed Crowley rituals on stage and had such a great interest in Crowley’s teachings that he bought Crowley’s Boleskin residence.
Jay-Z, Tyler the Creator from Odd Future, Adam Lambert, Taylor Momsen and Ciara have all been seen wearing clothing referencing Crowley, with Ciara blatantly displaying “XIV Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” on her clothing in the video clip for Super Turnt Up. The XIV is a reference to a dark initiation which is part of the rites of the Golden Dawn.
Many stars including Lady Gaga have their own take on the phrase “Do what though wilt” and the Beatles went so far as to put Crowley on the album cover of their album Sgt Pepper’s lonely hearts club band amongst pictures of their heroes.
Crowley can also be credited with the phenomena of back masking, where artists include subliminal messages in their songs which can be discovered upon playing them in reverse. For Crowley this was known as the “Law of reversal”:
“. . .train himself to think BACKWARDS by external means, as set forth here following.
(a) Let him learn to write BACKWARDS. . .
(b) Let him learn to walk BACKWARDS. . .
(c) Let him. . . listen to phonograph records REVERSED
(d) Let him practise speaking BACKWARDS. . .
(e) Let him learn to read BACKWARDS. . .”
– Crowley, Aleister. Magick: Liber ABA, book four, 1994 Ordo Templi Orientis edition, p. 639
In Satanic churches the law of reversal is reportedly used in black masses. Under an inverted cross they will “recite the Lords prayer but they will start with “Amen” and say “Nema” and then recite the whole prayer backwards.” Source
The use of reversal is a common trait of black magicians, as black magic is a perversion and inversion of white magic.
“The black magician…must…distort the histograms so that they typify the occult fact that he himself is distorting the principles for which the symbols stand. Black magic is not a fundamental art; it is the misuse of an art. Therefore it has no symbols of its own, It merely takes the emblematic figures of white magic, and by inverting and reversing them signifies that it is left-handed.” – Manly P Hall, Secret Teachings of All Ages
Backmasking in music was considered such an issue that legislation was proposed in 1983 in Arkansas and California that would require albums that included backmasking to be labelled as such.
The 1983 California bill was introduced to prevent backmasking that “can manipulate our behavior without our knowledge or consent and turn us into disciples of the Antichrist” Source
The Arkansas law initially passed unanimously, but was later returned to the state senate by Governor Bill Clinton and defeated.
An example of back masking appears in Jay-Z’s track Lucifer, which contains the number of the beast, the words “I will introduce you to evil” and “Murder, murder Jesus” when played backwards:
Freaked out yet?
James Franco has even gone as far as saying that Crowley’s disciple Kenneth Anger, has inspired much of the use of occult symbolism in the music industry today due to his influence on the music videos of artists such as The Rolling Stones.
Next up we’ll look at the hierarchy of influence behind the dark values promoted in the music industry.