The first instalment of the three-part ‘Conspiro Media’ Rolling Stones retrospective was published in March last year and covers the period from the band’s first gig in 1962 through to the controversial events surrounding the ‘Redlands’ drug-bust in 1967. If you haven’t yet read the article or would like to reacquaint yourself with it, you can find it in the link directly below. It charts their meteoric and well publicised rise to infamy when they were labelled the bad boys of Pop and when certain members of the group pursued a not so widely reported interest in the occult; namely Brian Jones along with his then-girlfriend, the model, actress, and enthusiast of witchcraft, Anita Pallenberg. Mick Jagger and his partner, Marianne Faithfull meanwhile were involved briefly with the Process Church of the Final Judgement, a religious group founded by former Scientologists and which has since been linked directly to Charles Manson and the grisly Tate/LaBianca murders of 1969.
The article ends with a brief reference to the Stones’ album, ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’ the title of which, according to their official website, “took its inspiration… from the words inside a British passport, ‘Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State requests and requires…’” The renowned Rock music author, Philip Norman states in his book, ‘The Stones: The Definitive Biography,’ that Jagger actually wanted to name it ‘Her Satanic Majesty Requests and Requires’ but was prevented from doing so by his record company which “refused to sanction so blatant a slur on the Queen.” Apparently, the singer came up with this title when he was still “touched by lingering anti-Establishment rancour” in the wake of the ‘Redlands’ controversy which had pitted him and Keith Richards against the police, the judiciary, and consequently, the penal system. On the face of it, Norman’s account appears plausible enough. However, if you’re aware of the allegations that have been made by numerous authors, researchers, and journalists outside of the mainstream media as to the dark, disgusting exploits of the British Royal Family, then one might be tempted to wonder whether the Stones front-man was secretly alluding to something far more sinister in his proposed title?
The album was released in the final month of 1967, the year of the so-called ’Summer of Love’ when western popular culture drew influence from San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, the centre-point of the burgeoning global hippie community. Its soundtrack was supplied by a new wave of psychedelic-friendly bands including the Grateful Dead, and the Jefferson Airplane as well as more established groups such as The Beatles, most notably via their much-lauded “masterpiece,” ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ which was unleashed right in the middle of it all. It would seem this album’s rich tapestry of colourful soundscapes, ranging from the orchestral high drama on ‘A Day in the Life’ to the dreamy instrumentation of ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ with its lyrics pertaining to “tangerine trees” and “marmalade skies,” was an ideal accompaniment to the times, especially when you consider the fact that both these tracks are said to make reference to LSD, the drug that helped shape the Haight-Ashbury scene in ’67 and which was promoted by individuals such as Dr. Timothy Leary who that same year called on some twenty to thirty thousand people at a mass gathering in San Francisco to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.” In past posts, ‘Conspiro Media’ has briefly explored claims that this former Harvard psychology lecturer and researcher of hallucinogens was, in his role as Acid guru and leading light of what has come to be known as the 1960s ’counter-culture,’ part of a CIA-backed plot to control a generation of youths through the mass-distribution and promotion of mind-altering substances which would not only render them too ’stoned’ to be an effective opposition to the Vietnam War, but alienate them from their elders and, as a consequence, help to destabilise and dismantle the fabric of society.
This’ll be examined at greater length in the third instalment of this three-part retrospective, although it is worth noting at this juncture that another ingredient in this alleged plot was the introduction of New Age philosophies into mainstream consciousness, thus clearing a path for the as-yet unrealised One World religion. Taking this into consideration, is it then merely a ‘coincidence’ that Leary, a self-confessed “pagan” who once stated that “drugs are the religion of the 21st century,“ would form his very own religion in 1966, the ’League for Spiritual Discovery’ (yes, that’s right… ’L.S.D.’ for short)? Whatever, there’s no denying that folks in Haight-Ashbury and elsewhere in the western part of the planet during the second half of the 1960s were looking beyond the doctrines and confines of the organised Christian Church and towards the east for alternative forms of spirituality, which The Beatles are often credited for popularising, especially George Harrison. The lyrics to the one track he contributed to ‘Sgt. Pepper’ evoked this prevailing mood. On the sitar-laden ‘Within You Without You’ he sings of “the love we all could share,” and, “with our love we could save the world… Try to realise it’s all within yourself… and life flows on within you and without you.” Reviewing the album at the time of its release, the noted British critic and writer, Kenneth Tynan stated it was “a decisive moment in the history of western civilisation.” Now, if you’ve read the first instalment of this article, you’ll recall that the Rolling Stones were marketed by their management during the early half of the 1960s as the direct opponents of The Beatles. It’s a rivalry that’s kept alive to this day by music fans and journalists the world over in a never-ending debate as to which of the two bands truly deserve to be called “the greatest.” There‘s also a widely held view that back in ‘67, ‘Satanic Majesties’ was an attempt to emulate or even out-dazzle the almighty ‘Sgt. Pepper,‘ and perhaps grab some of that counter-cultural kudos attached to it too. After all, for starters, it was the first (and last) time, The Stones effectively ditched their Blues / R&B-based sound and recorded an all-psychedelic album. Then there’s the front-cover which does perhaps bear more than a passing resemblance to The Beatles’ groundbreaking artwork. Incidentally, the renowned photographer, Michael Cooper who, as it just so happens was friends with both bands and had worked on ‘Sgt. Pepper,’ was called in for ‘Satanic Majesties.’
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE?… The ‘Sgt. Pepper’ and ‘Satanic Majesties’ albums.
According to Keith Richards in his 2010 memoirs, ‘Life,‘ “it was time for another Stones album, and Sgt. Pepper’s was coming out, so we thought basically we were doing a put-on.” Furthermore, during a 2003 interview in which he looked back on The Stones’ hands-on involvement in the designing of the set for the album-cover photo-shoot, he reportedly said, “we went to New York with Michael Cooper… we built the set on Acid, went all round New York getting the flowers and the rest of the props; we were painting it, spraying it. We were just loony, and after The Beatles had done ‘Sgt. Pepper,’ it was like, let’s get even more ridiculous.”
The Stones making the cover for ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’ in New York, 1967.
“We were on Acid doing the cover picture. I always remember doing that. It was like being at school, you know, sticking on the bits of coloured paper and things. It was really silly. But we enjoyed it.” – Mick Jagger. ‘Rolling Stone’ Magazine – 1995.
Keith Richards has been quoted as saying of the front-cover design, “Michael Cooper was in charge of the whole thing, under his leadership. It was handicrafts day… you make Saturn, and I’ll make the rings.” Ah, yes. “Saturn,” or otherwise referred to as, “Satan.” In his 2008 best-seller, ‘The Secret History of the World,‘ Jonathan Black, a lifelong enthusiast of ancient esoteric knowledge who claims to have written his book with the assistance of a high-ranking secret society member states that, “Satan, the Dark Lord, the agent of materialism, is to be identified with the god of the planet Saturn in Greek and Roman mythology.” He also sheds light on the ringed planet’s role in The Creation of the universe as told in the Bible and based upon the beliefs of the fraternal orders but hidden from the uninitiated eye beneath a cloak of allegories. It goes without saying, the so-called “ruling elites” stand accused of keeping this secret knowledge from the rest of us, force-feeding us instead with the falsities of organised religion, and locking humanity within a world of ignorance, fear, and racial/cultural intolerance as a result.
Science and religion agree that in the beginning the cosmos moved from a state of nothingness to the existence of matter. But science has very little to say about this mysterious transition, all of it highly speculative. By contrast, there was remarkable unanimity among the initiate priests of the ancient world. Their secret teachings are encoded in the sacred texts of the world’s great religions… A secret history of creation is encoded in the most familiar of these texts, Genesis… its phrases can be opened up to reveal extraordinary new worlds of thought, mighty vistas of the imagination.
In the beginning there precipitated out of the void matter that was finer and more subtle than light. Then came an unexceptionally fine gas. If a human eye had been looking at the dawn of history, it would have seen a vast cosmic mist. This gas or mist was the Mother of All Living, carrying everything needed for the creation of life… in the beginning ‘the Earth was without form and void.‘ The Bible narrative continues: ‘Darkness was upon the face of the Earth.’ According to Biblical commentators working within the esoteric tradition, this is the Bible’s way of saying that the Mother Goddess was attacked by a searing dry wind that almost extinguished the potential for life altogether. Again, to the human eye it would have looked as if the gently interweaving mists that had first emanated from the mind of God were suddenly overtaken by a second emanation. There was a violent storm like some rare and spectacular phenomenon observed by astronomers – the death of a star, perhaps – except that there here in the beginning it would have been on a completely overwhelming scale that filled the entire universe. So this is what it would have looked like to a physical eye, but to the eye of imagination this great cloud mist and the terrible storm that attacked it can be seen to cloak two gigantic phantoms. The Mother Goddess would often be remembered as a loving, life-giving and nurturing figure, comfortingly round and soft-looking, but she also had a terrifying aspect. She was warlike when needs be. Her opponent was, if anything, more frightening. Long and bony, his skin was a scaly white and he had glowing, red eyes. Swooping low over Mother Earth, the Dark Lord was armed with a deadly scythe. For if the first emanation from the mind of God would metamorphose into the goddess of the Earth, the second emanation would become the god of Saturn. Saturn would trace the limits of the solar system. In fact he was the very principal of limitation. What Saturn’s intervention introduced into creation was the potential for individual objects to exist – and therefore the transition from formlessness to form. In other words, because of Saturn there is a law of identity in the universe by which something exists and is nothing else and neither is anything else it. If an individual entity can exist through time, then by implication it can cease to exist too. This is why Saturn is the god of destruction. Saturn eats his own children. He is sometimes portrayed as Old Father Time and sometimes Death himself.
‘Saturn Devouring His Son’ by Francisco Goya. (18th century)
Because of Saturn’s influence everything that lives contains the seeds of its own end, and it is because of Saturn that what feeds us also destroys us. Because of Saturn every sword is double-edged and every crown a crown of thorns. If we sometimes feel our lives almost too hard to bear, if we bruise and if we do cry out to the stars in despair, it is because Saturn pushes us to our limits. In Genesis the Evil One’s attempt to nullify God’s plans at birth, this first act of rebellion of a Thought-Being against the Mind that emanated it, is dealt with in one short phrase.
Saturn’s tyranny over Mother Earth, his murderous attempt to squeeze all potential for life out of the cosmos, continued over vast periods immeasurable to the human mind. His tyranny was eventually overthrown, and Saturn, if not entirely defeated, was kept in check and confined to the proper sphere. Again, Genesis tells us how this came about: ‘And God said Let there be light, and there was light.’ Light was pushing back the darkness that had been brooding over the waters.
The second great act in the drama of creation comes about when the sun god arrives in order to rescue Mother Earth from Saturn. In the eye of the imagination the sun is a beautiful and radiant young man with a leonine mane. He rides a chariot and he is a musician. He has many names – Krishna in India, Apollo in Greece. Arising in splendour in the midst of the storm, he pushes back the darkness of Saturn until it becomes like a giant dragon or serpent encircling the cosmos. The sun then warms Mother Earth into new life, and as he does so, he gives vent to a great, triumphal roar that reverberates to the outer limits of the cosmos. The roar causes matter in the cosmic womb to vibrate, to dance and form patterns. After a while it causes matter to coagulate into a variety of strange shapes. What we are seeing here, then, is the sun singing the world into existence.
Of course, the claim is, secret knowledge such as this isn’t only to be found in ‘Genesis.’ For centuries, scholars far too numerous to list here have argued that the entire Bible from start to finish is nothing but planetary, solar, lunar and stellar observances according to the ancients but hidden behind a mask of allegories and fictional characters. In the New Testament for example, the cycle of the seasons and the hours of the day are depicted through the movements of God’s son (sun), Jesus “the light bringer,” all powerful in summer but in constant opposition with his enemy, Satan A.K.A. Saturn, the ruler of the underworld where winter and darkness prevails. The graph below adapted from the astronomical symbol for the Earth (represented by a circle and – as it just so happens – a cross): illustrates how this works. Designed by ‘Conspiro Media’ specially for this article, it’s based on the teachings of world-respected astrotheologist, Santos Bonacci. It’s divided into twelve segments, each with its own planet and star-sign. It can either be read as a calendar charting the seasons from a northern hemisphere perspective, or a 24-hour clock chronicling night and day. The top half, beginning at the spring equinox / 6 a.m. point through to the autumnal equinox / 6 p.m. position, charts the sun’s dominance. The bottom half marks its descent. Bonacci says it’s “the cycle that causes The Gospels to be told” and “the physical graph that allows us to peer into the spiritual.”
Astrotheology-wheel based on the teachings of Santos Bonacci. (CLICK TO ENLARGE).
March 21st is when “most of the cycles begin in the year” Santos says, and it’s where it’s in close proximity with the Jewish religious festival of the Passover which is supposedly commemorating the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt during the time of Moses. In actual fact, proclaims veteran researcher, lecturer, and author of the occult, Jordan Maxwell, “the ancient peoples a thousand years before Hebrews ever existed, celebrated the first week of spring and they called it the ’Passover.’ The Passover is the sun passing over the equator on its way back to the northern hemisphere… The first week of spring was called the ‘Passover’ because the sun which was dead and winter is now passing over into a new life in spring. But of course, Christians could not have anything to do with the Passover because obviously that’s Jewish and we wouldn’t want anything to do with that. So consequently we say that God’s son is ‘resurrected.’ Doesn’t matter if you call it ‘resurrected,’ or ‘passed over,’ or ‘coming back to life,’ it’s still the sun is passing over. It’s resurrected, it’s coming back.” Santos Bonacci says, “the sun is in its zenith in Cancer. He is most influential. This is the point occupied by glory – glory of the sun. It’s a glorious position. It’s Jesus coming into Jerusalem and being enthroned as king.” The sun then descends through Leo and Virgo and “drops below the equator. So sun goes bye-byes for six months and in the north, the winter months come.” During this period when “there is more darkness than light,” he is “obstructed in his vitality and his ability to give us that summer energy, to revitalise the season so that we can eat and live.” And so, Bonacci argues, “you see how the sun is our saviour, how Jesus is our saviour?” Of course, Saturn/Satan is “always there” ready “to kill the light of the sun” down below in what Santos calls, “the inferior regions. In fact,” he adds, “‘inferior’ is how the Latins call winter: ‘Inverno.’ And in fact, ‘infernal’ – ‘hell’ – is ‘inferno.’ Just replace the ‘V’ for an ‘F.’ ‘Infernal’ – hell – supposed to be hot, is actually another word for ‘inverno,’ which is ‘winter.’” Indeed, according to Bonacci, the sun meets its death on December 21st, which just so happens to coincide with the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year. On this date “we have the holy Saturnalia and the Christmas period.” In ancient Rome, the Saturnalia was “one of the most famous Bacchic orgies of history. Revelries. Absolute revelry time.” Saturn’s association with revelry apparently lives on. Bonacci says, “the seventh day of the week is associated with Saturn, it’s called Saturn-day, right? Saturday. And what usually happens on that day? Would that be the weekend? The day of revorie?… You know?… Saturday Night Fever and ‘let’s go out Saturday night, boys. Let’s go out on the tiles,’ right?”
He continues, “It’s always ‘Saturn the bad boy.’ Aries rules from six till eight. Taurus, eight to ten. Gemini rules ten to twelve. Cancer rules twelve to two. Right on cue we have Saturn turning up at midnight. And what happens after midnight?… He gets from twelve till four. This is… a time of revelry where things happen… thieves do their work at night… Saturn rules the night.” However, as Bonacci points out, along with the sun, moon, Venus, Mars, Mercury, and Jupiter, Saturn is vital for life on Earth for “everything that you see – everything – every material shape that is in your eyesight is manifested by those seven. Those seven orbs in our solar system. Without them – no manifestation. Take away the sun? We’re gone. Take away the moon? Jupiter? Any one of them. We’re gone.” But, the ringed planet is Satan. He is the epitome of evil, the figurehead of black magic rituals and blood-curdling sacrifice, right? Well, for a greater insight into this, there’s the 1960 pamphlet, ‘Magic. A Treatise on Esoteric Ethics’ written by 33rd Degree Freemason and renowned scholar of the occult, Manly Palmer Hall. In this essay he also makes note of Lucifer who’s identified in the Christian tradition the same as the Devil:
Manly Palmer Hall.
For ages, Man has laboured under a misunderstanding. He has called the perversion of occult power black magic. This is an improper use of the world black, for black does not mean evil. Black is the basic not-colour of all things; it is the source of all being, and represents the body of the Absolute Intelligence. All consciousness and light are born out of the chaotic blackness, and Kosmic Night, with its dark pralaya, is the Father-Mother of creation. Black darkness must forever shroud the workings of the Infinite, and no matter how much light there is in the human soul, it is forever surrounded with the dark, seething substances of chaos. All manifestation is a concretion of dark and unmeasured possibility. The Children of the Dark Birth who labour in the blackness of this substance, moulding it into myriads of unseen and unmeasured forms, are not evil. They are the sons of Saturn (Satan), the Black Father, who, like the very darkness of chaos itself, must in time swallow all of his creations and, in so doing, bring them back to life again from the death that men call creation. We are all born out of this dark abyss and have no right to call it evil. It is the parent of gods and men – and forever wrapped in the unexplorable robes of its own mystery. Out of this blackness, nature’s unfathomed treasure house, man must exhume the stone of his own soul in the same way that the miner removes the diamond from its sheath of black carbon. The dark Lords of Saturn are the builders of the first dawn, the morning of blackness, and from the friction of their strivings were born the first flaming sparks of dawning consciousness.
There is a false darkness and a true darkness. The true darkness is the womb of Light; the false darkness, the perversion of the light that pours out of the true darkness. Natural darkness is the basic principle of things, while the false darkness is the result of debasing the power of the angels of Satan. The Devil, the archetype of misuse, is not a son of Saturn, but a son of Man and the false darkness of Earth. Man is the incarnation of the germ of mental intelligence, and black magic is possible only to intelligent beings. Natural darkness is unawakened possibility; false darkness is perverted opportunity.
Evil is an abuse or misuse of power. It is the crossing of currents, or an interference with the plan. We may say, as one definition of evil, that is the right thing in the wrong place. The worst evil in nature can be transmuted into good by the simple process of adjustment. The average intelligence of the consciously functioning man is sufficient to make a god out of any demon by the simple process of inversion; likewise, he is capable of making a demon or evil thing out of any good thing or god by placing it in improper relationship to other things.
The two Great Demons of Creation are: Satan – Saturn, and Lucifer – Mars (According to the Greeks, Venus).
Satan is the spirit of caution, prudence, and when perverted, negation. At his door are laid the sins of omission. Few realise that Man is responsible for the things he has not done. That is part of the law. It is just as wrong not to do the right things as it is to do the wrong thing. Satan inhibits, he draws back, he holds aloof. He is keyed to crystallisation, and his unhampered reign would result in cosmic inertia, for he destroys action. He is symbolised as the reaping skeleton, for he governs the bones of Man and the planets… He is the cold demon of ice that freezes the spirit in the blood, and is given dominion over the tomb of unrealised hopes. Lucifer, on the other hand, is the spirit of excess, the flaming son of rashness and the ruler of sense-gratification, over which he wields dominion with a scepter of serpents. Those who fall victims to his power do deeds of violence, not because he wills it so, but because they have this spirit of energy and pervert him themselves. Lucifer is the light-bringer; he is transmuted by Man as the inspiration of lust and passion – while he would have it used only for the attainment of ideality. Uncurbed, those who fall under the sway of his influence, dash madly to their own destruction. He always is opposed to Satan, seeking to snatch the soul of Man from the cold embrace of Saturn. He is the heat that incubates the soul, but man uses him as a flame to burn up reason. All the powers in nature naturally serve good, but as they are the servants of those capable of wielding authority, Man makes out of them barbarous spirits who damn his own world. Between these two thieves of excess – Satan (utter coldness) and Lucifer (blazing heat) – hangs the spirit of Man. Here is the great truth. Suppose either of these forces which Man has made into demons, were to withdraw – what would happen to the Plan of Being?
If Satan were to go out of the scheme, Man would be burned up by the fiery passions of Mars and the angels of Lucifer. Without the chill, caution, and curbing of Saturn, his soul would speedily be lost in utter debauchery and licentiousness. If on the other hand, Lucifer should withdraw, Man would soon be a stone again, incapable of incentive, of motion or emotion, and chained, like the sufferers of ‘Dante’s Inferno,’ by the icy fingers of death.
Satan and Lucifer are not evil, but two of the greatest powers in all creation. Without them, the universe could not come into being – for Mars, with the Lucifer angels, is the dynamo of our solar system, and without them, the planets could not keep up their endless march. On the other hand, Satan builds the Earth and worlds by crystallisation, without which we would have no solid substances to form bodies. It is not force or power, but the perversion of force which constitutes evil. We may say: “The Demon is power perverted.” Therefore Man, the perverted of power, is the creator of demons, because he is the lowest creature capable of exercising authority from within his own being.
With regards to Lucifer, Santos Bonacci states, “Venus is phosphorous. She is the bright morning star. And she’s one of the brightest orbs – in fact, she’s the third brightest orb in the sky. Venus – the ruler of Taurus and the most brilliant sight in the evening and morning sky after the moon – was called by the Greeks, ’Phos’… meaning ’light,’ and by the Romans, ’Lucifer – the Light-bearer.’” Furthermore, “to the ancient occultists, Venus was the planet of inner light – illumination.” The respected researcher, public-speaker, and radio-show host, Mark Passio who was once a priest in the notorious ’Church of Satan’ until the moment he experienced what he’s described as “a true conscience,” has said, “the concept of Lucifer… simply means ‘Bringer of Light.’ This is a symbol… there are light and dark Luciferians.” So, what Manly Palmer Hall is telling us in the closing paragraphs above is, you or I can harness the force of Lucifer as an instrument for good or ill, just as we could (for example) with a knife, which can either be used to cut bread and provide sustenance, or to kill and maim. It’s not the knife that’s to blame, but the person. Passio says, “I don’t envisage Satan as a being or an entity. Nor do I envisage Lucifer as a being or an entity. These are forces at work in the world. And these forces wield control over people, over human-beings. And I would go so far as to say they often inhabit humans and put them on strings like puppets so that they will do their bidding… ‘Lucifer,’ the word, is based upon light. ‘Looks’ in Latin means, ‘light.’ And ‘Ferro’… in Latin means ‘to bring, to carry.’ So ‘Lucifer’ is to ‘bring or carry the light.’ It’s a way-shower. A light-bearer. That’s all it really means. And this is a symbol, because light represents knowledge. It represents the ability… to take in, process, and use information accurately… and the dark occultists who are the Luciferians at the higher level have this knowledge. They have this light and they are using it for their own purposes. Well, that information and knowledge can be used for transformative purposes and awakening people as well. It’s the same information. It’s information that has been hidden.” According to Passio, the Church of Satan is very much aligned to ‘the dark.’ Speaking during an interview with ’Red Ice Radio’ in 2012, he called the organisation a “psychopathic filtration system” that worked “with huge international organisations and think-tanks and global institutions that were attempting to really eradicate human freedom throughout the Earth.“ He described it as, “a war on human life.”
Whether you yourself believe Lucifer to be an evil creature that rebelled against God or, alternatively, an illuminating and necessary planetary force in the universe, is, of course, entirely up to you. The aim here isn’t to promote one viewpoint over the other but merely to set the context in preparation for what is to come in this article. After all, Satan/the Devil is going to feature highly in the Rolling Stones story in some shape or form from hereon in so perhaps we should recognise some of the esoteric knowledge that’s available to us, knowledge that particular members of the group might’ve been familiar with and indeed inspired by during the 1960s and early ’70s. Maybe the likes of Jonathan Black, Santos Bonacci, and Manly P. Hall can help us understand why the band, through their music and imagery, associated themselves so publicly with Satan, and also privately in their choice of friends and acquaintances. Who and what motivated them to follow this route?… How far did they actually go with it, and in which direction – the way of the light maybe, or perhaps (as many of you reading this will no doubt suspect) towards the dark? What was their intent?
Here’s some more excerpts from Manly P. Hall’s ‘Magic…’ pamphlet:
Magic is the art of manipulating the unseen forces of nature. The black magician’s motto is: ‘Might is right’ (survival of the fittest). The white magician’s motto is: ‘Right is might’ (survival of all).
Black magic is the use of spiritual powers to gratify animal or selfish proclivities.
White magic is the right use of spiritual power, consciously and objectively.
Grey magic is the unconscious or subconscious perversion of power.
Yellow magic is the failure to learn how to prevent the perversion of power.
Every living person is one of these four classes. It is important that each should analyse himself and see just which class he is in.
Motive is the key to the problem of magic. Even the greatest of white magicians can become a degenerate in an instant if his motive becomes unworthy. The white magician serves humanity; the black magician seeks to serve himself.
There are two kinds of black magicians: (1) those who use the demons of the astral plane for their villainy, which they invoke through necromancy and invocation; and (2) those who create their own demons and launch them against the world. The first group does the greatest harm to the world, but the second injure themselves more. The first group is composed mostly of conscious black magicians, while there are many in the second group who are totally ignorant of what they are doing. Some never learn their mistake until the demons they have created come back to the persons who sent them forth.
The white magician… is a builder – not a destroyer – and seeks to liberate rather than to dominate his fellow creatures. The white magician has dedicated his soul to the immortal light, while the black magician has sold his for mortal glory.
In an interview during the early-to-mid ‘90s with the magazine, ’Rolling Stone’ (no direct relation, of course), Mick Jagger did mention in passing that he and his fellow Stones had “played around” with ‘black magic imagery’ on ‘Satanic Majesties,’ “but it wasn’t really put into words.” It seems that’s all he had to say on the matter, which is unfortunate because he’s not actually telling us anything conclusive. His recollection is all too brief, lacking in detail, and non-specific. What does he mean exactly when he talks of ’playing around’? Is he implying that it was all just a bit of fun, nothing to be suspicious of? If we’re to believe what his then-girlfriend, Marianne Faithfull has divulged in her memoirs, apparently the answer to that would be, ‘yes.’ She states, “Mick is far too sensible and normal ever to have got seriously involved with black magic.”
Assuming – even if only for a second or two – that his black magic-inspired dabblings on ’Satanic Majesties’ weren’t intended to be serious, does that mean nothing of a dark or untoward nature would’ve manifested from his actions as a result? Well… no – or that’s how it would appear to ‘Conspiro Media’ having deduced what Manly P. Hall has written in his ‘Magic…’ pamphlet. Following on from his claim that “every living person” has the ability to unconsciously or subconsciously pervert power, he then goes on to warn us that “the powers of darkness work alike through the thoughtless and the silly” as well as “the arrogant and self-righteous.” Furthermore, “every debased thought and emotion of man helps to build these tearing, rending creatures, the innate qualities of which become, in the hands of those who know, agencies for the destruction of the powers of light.” Later on in this article you’ll discover (if you didn’t know already) that Marianne was apparently well aware of the principles and the warnings being put forward by Hall, irrespective of whether she was (is) familiar with the man himself and his works.
Almost thirty years prior to Jagger’s ‘Rolling Stone’ interview in which he all too briefly referred to the ‘black magic imagery’ on ‘Satanic Majesties,’ the very same magazine reviewed the album’s cover-art in a short article and claimed the singer “had wanted to include a picture of himself naked on a cross. The record company, however, felt the photo would be in bad taste.”
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Reviewing the art on the inner-sleeve of the ‘Satanic Majesties’ record-cover, ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine concluded that “the inside of the fold-out reveals a spectacular… collage: the New York skyline floating under Saturn, a mountain observatory surrounded by flowers… a surfer riding a wave, and almost completely filling one page, a maze with an octagonal centre with the words, ‘IT’S HERE’ printed in the middle.”
Back in 1967, Mick Jagger reportedly said of the front-cover, “it’s not really meant to be a very nice picture at all. Look at the expressions on our faces. It’s a Grimms’ fairy-tale – one of those stories that used to frighten as a young child.” What? Such as the one titled ’Fitcher’s Bird’ perhaps which tells of a wizard (aptly enough) who used to take the form of a pauper and then go about begging and catching pretty girls?… Once upon a time, he appeared before the door of a man who had three attractive daughters, the eldest of whom offered him a piece of bread. Just as she was reaching out to hand it to him, he touched her, at which point she felt compelled to jump inside the basket that was on his back. He carried her into the dark of the forest where his house was situated and took her inside. It was full of magnificent things. Gold and silver shone throughout. He said to her, “my darling, thou wilt certainly be happy with me, for thou hast everything thy heart can wish for.” A few days later, he informed her that he had to leave for a short time. Before doing so, he handed her an egg for safe-keeping, for if it was lost, a great misfortune would arise. He also left her with a set of keys telling her she was free to go about any room in the building except for one, warning her, “I forbid thee to go on pain of death.” She promised to obey his wishes, but when he was gone, her curiosity overcame her. She unlocked the door that she’d been forbidden from entering, and walked in. There she saw a basin with hacked human body parts inside it, and nearby, a gleaming axe and a block of wood. She was so alarmed that she let go of the egg which then fell into the carcasses. In a panic, she retrieved it and tried to scrub the blood off it, but to no avail. The wizard returned from his journey and saw almost at once by the red spots on it that she‘d disobeyed him. He threw her down, dragged her by the hair, chopped off her head, cut her into pieces, and tossed her into the basin with the rest. Once again taking the form of a pauper, he revisited the man’s house where he’d grabbed her from and snatched himself the second daughter using exactly the same method as before. She too allowed curiosity to overwhelm her, and she too was butchered. He then went and caught the third and took her into the dark of the forest – but she was clever and crafty. When the wizard gave her the egg for safe-keeping and then left for another of his trips, she carefully tucked it away from harm first and then proceeded to enter into the forbidden room. There she saw the remains of her sisters in the basin. She gathered up their body-parts and put them in order; head, body, arms and legs. Eventually, the limbs began to join together and move, and the girls were once more alive. After some rejoicing, the younger sibling hid them away from view within the house. The wizard eventually returned from his trip and, noticing no traces of blood on the egg, said to her, “thou hast stood the test, thou shalt be my bride.” He now no longer had any power over her and was forced to do whatever she desired. This was her opportunity to escape his clutches. She told him to take a basketful of gold to her mother and father. However, she didn’t tell him that she’d hidden her sisters within the contents along with an express request to fetch help. The wizard set off on his journey whilst she stayed behind and made arrangements for their wedding. She prepared a marriage-feast, sent invitations to the groom’s friends, and then took a skull with grinning teeth, put ornaments on it and a wreath of flowers, carried it upstairs and placed it by a window looking out. Following this, she got into a barrel of honey, and then cut open a bed and rolled herself into the feathers that came out of it until she looked like a bird, and no one could recognise her. She left the house and went on her way. As the wizard slowly made his return, he looked up at his residence and saw the decked-out skull by the window. Thinking it was his wife-to-be, he smiled, greeted her and made his way in with the wedding guests. Once all of them were gathered inside, the bride’s brothers and relatives arrived after heeding her call for help. They locked all of the doors so that no one might escape and set fire to the building. The sorcerer and his friends were burned to death.
The music-author, Christopher Sandford makes no note of the Grimm brothers’ stories influencing ’Satanic Majesties’ in his biography, ’Mick Jagger. Primitive Cool,’ although he does cite literary works that apparently did, and which were bought at the ’Indica,’ the bookshop at the forefront of the ‘underground scene’ in London during the 1960s. He states, “in early 1967 Jagger appeared at the Indica shop and bought, among others, ’The Secret of the Golden Flower,’ an anthology of cryptic allusions and Middle Earth esoteria (green suns, flying discs and argosies of celestial travellers).” Jagger also “read ’The Golden Bough’ approvingly.” Written by British anthropologist and folklorist, Sir James Frazer, The Golden Bough’ is a study of magic, myths and legends from many different cultures throughout history. First published in two volumes in 1890 with a further three in 1900 followed by another twelve between 1906-15, as well as a supplement in the 1930s, this massive work provides information on various esoteric rituals, sacrifices, and celebrations from around the world dating back to the ancients, and draws attention to similarities in their key themes which have recurred throughout the centuries and across geographical and cultural divides. These commonalities, for example, can be found in Christianity when analysing the parallels between Christmas and Mithra, the old Persian deity. To emphasise his point, Frazer directs his attention to a period during the days of the Roman empire when the Mithraic religion was competing for prominence in the western world. He claims it “proved a formidable rival to Christianity… An instructive relic of the long struggle is preserved in our festival of Christmas, which the Church seems to have borrowed directly from its… rival.” The author then goes on to highlight the connections between Christianity and the sun (son), echoing a theme explored earlier in this article through the work of Santos Bonacci and Jordan Maxwell. Indeed, Mithra is associated with solar worship and, according to many researchers, was born of a virgin on December 25th. Frazer writes, “in the Julian calendar the 25th December was reckoned the winter solstice, and it was regarded as the Nativity of the Sun, because the day begins to lengthen and the power of the sun to increase from that turning-point of the year. The ritual of the nativity, as it appears to have been celebrated in Syria and Egypt, was remarkable. The celebrants retired into certain inner shrines, from which at midnight they issued with a loud cry, ‘the Virgin has brought forth! The light is waxing!’ The Egyptians even represented the new-born sun by the image of an infant which on his birthday, the winter solstice, they brought forth and exhibited to his worshippers. No doubt the Virgin who thus conceived and bore a son on the 25th December was the great… goddess whom the Semites called the Heavenly Virgin or simply the Heavenly Goddess… Now Mithra was regularly identified by his worshippers with the Sun, the Unconquered Sun, as they called him; hence his nativity also fell on the 25th December.” In another chapter, Frazer writes at length about the Saturnalia. “This famous festival fell in December, the last month of the Roman year,” he states, “and was popularly supposed to commemorate the merry reign of Saturn, the god of sowing and of husbandry, who lived on earth long ago as a righteous and beneficent king of Italy, drew the rude and scattered dwellers on the mountains together, taught them to till the ground, gave them laws, and ruled in peace. At last the good god, the kindly king, vanished suddenly; but his memory was cherished to distant ages, shrines were reared in his honour, and many hills and high places in Italy bore his name. Yet the bright tradition of his reign was crossed by a dark shadow: his altars are said to have been stained with the blood of human victims, for whom a more merciful age afterwards substituted effigies.”
Sir James Frazer.
According to Frazer “no feature” of the Saturnalia festival “is more remarkable… than the licence granted to slaves at this time. The distinction between the free and the servile classes was temporarily abolished. The slave might rail at his master, intoxicate himself like his betters, sit down at table with them, and not even a word of reproof would be administered to him for conduct which at any other season might have been punished with stripes, imprisonment, or death. Nay, more, masters actually changed places with their slaves and waited on them at table; and not till the serf had done eating and drinking was the board cleared and dinner set for his master. So far was this inversion of ranks carried, that each household became for a time a mimic republic in which the high offices of state were discharged by the slaves, who gave their orders and laid down the law as if they were indeed invested with all the dignity of the consulship, the praetorship, and the bench. The person on whom the lot fell enjoyed the title of king, and issued commands of a playful and ludicrous nature to his temporary subjects. Now, when we remember that the liberty allowed to slaves at this festive season was supposed to be an imitation of the state of society in Saturn’s time, and that in general the Saturnalia passed for nothing more or less than a temporary revival or restoration of the reign of that merry monarch, we are tempted to surmise that the mock king who presided over the revels may have originally represented Saturn himself. The conjecture is strongly confirmed, if not established, by a very curious and interesting account of the way in which the Saturnalia was celebrated by the Roman soldiers stationed on the Danube in the reign of Maximian and Diocletian.“ According to the account, “the Roman soldiers at Durostorum in Lower Moesia celebrated the Saturnalia year by year in the following manner. Thirty days before the festival they chose by lot from amongst themselves a young and handsome man, who was then clothed in royal attire to resemble Saturn. Thus arrayed and attended by a multitude of soldiers he went about in public with full license to indulge his passions and to taste of every pleasure, however base and shameful. But if his reign was merry, it was short and ended tragically; for when the thirty days were up and the festival of Saturn had come, he cut his own throat on the altar of the god whom he personated. In the year A.D. 303 the lot fell upon the Christian soldier Dasius, but he refused to play the part of the heathen god and soil his last days by debauchery. The threats and arguments of his commanding officer Bassus failed to shake his constancy, and accordingly he was beheaded.” Again drawing parallels with the story of Jesus and solar/planetary worship, Frazer believes there is a “remarkable resemblance… between the treatment of the mock king of the Saturnalia by the Roman soldiers at Durostorum… and the treatment of Christ by the Roman soldiers at Jersualem” prior to his crucifixion when he was stripped and re-dressed with a scarlet robe and a crown of thorns.
One might wonder whether the “remarkable resemblance” that Frazer identifies between the mock king of Saturnalia and the crucifixion story is actually the inspiration behind Mick Jagger’s desire, reportedly, to appear naked on a cross in amongst the Saturn imagery on ‘Satanic Majesties’ – assuming of course that he did indeed purchase ‘The Golden Bough’ in early 1967 and read it as claimed in, ‘Mick Jagger. Primitive Cool’ by Christopher Sandford? As it happens, he’s not the only biographer to make note of the Rolling Stone’s interest in Frazer’s work. Philip Norman states that the singer “would send regular orders to his friend (Barry) Miles at the Indica Bookshop for such required underground classics as ‘The Secret of the Golden Bough.’” Furthermore, Mick “was particularly interested, Miles remembers, in books about fairies, goblins and elves.” Tom Keylock, the Rolling Stones’ former driver and tour-manager, told Christopher Sandford, “Mick would appear with four paperbacks under his arm and start babbling about ‘fiery oceans’” This very phrase appears in the lyrics of the ‘Satanic Majesties’ track, ‘2000 Light Years from Home’:
Sun turnin’ ’round with graceful motion
We’re setting off with soft explosion
Bound for a star with fiery oceans
It’s so very lonely
You’re a 100 light years from home
Freezing red deserts turn to dark
Energy here in every part
It’s so very lonely
You’re 600 light years from home
It’s so very lonely
You’re a 1000 light years from home
It’s so very lonely
You’re a 1000 light years from home
Bell flight 14 you now can land
See you on Aldebaran
Safe on the green desert sand
It’s so very lonely
You’re 2000 light years from home
It’s so very lonely
You’re 2000 light years from home
‘2000 Light Years from Home’ was released in its own right during 1967/’68 and came with an accompanying promo-film featuring Mick dressed in what ‘Conspiro Media’ can only describe as some form of pagan-esque wizard-like costume…
Perhaps it’s no surprise that ‘2000 Light Years from Home’ is often thought to have been influenced by themes pertaining to space-travel, given the lyrical content. As it happens, one of Mick Jagger’s purchases at the Indica – according to Philip Norman – was ‘The Book of the Damned’ by Charles Henry Fort. Published in 1919, it examines “the data of the damned” – in other words, “data that science has excluded” such as reports of UFO sightings. Michael C. Luckman, the author of 2005‘s, ’Alien Rock: The Rock ’n’ Roll Extraterrestrial Connection,’ has reportedly said, “Mick Jagger has been very involved with the subject of UFOs for many years. In 1968 he went camping in Glastonbury with his then-girlfriend, Marianne Faithful, and encountered a rare, luminous cigar-shaped mothership. Around the same time Mick had a UFO detector installed at his British estate. The alarm kept on going off whenever he left home, indicating the presence of strong electromagnetic activity in the immediate area.” Fellow Rolling Stone, Keith Richards has spoken publicly on the subject of UFOs on more than one occasion it would seem. Luckman states in his book:
Keith Richards reported seeing several daylight discs near his estate in Sussex, England, at 6 am one day in 1968. “I’ve seen a few (UFOs),” Keith commented, “but nothing that any of the ministries would believe. I believe they exist – plenty of people have seen them. They are tied up with a lot of things, like the dawn of Man, for example. It’s not just a matter of people spotting a flying saucer. I’m not an expert,” Keith admitted. “I’m still trying to understand what’s going on.” Toward that goal, Keith read books like ‘Chariots of the Gods’ by Erich von Daniken. The Swiss author and researcher, who was also a favourite of Elvis Presley’s, presents stunning evidence that Earth was visited thousands of years ago by ancient astronauts who directly charted the development of the human race. On March 7th 1968, Keith and Anita Pallenberg discussed an idea for an offbeat film about sky people and flying saucers… The film was to star Mick, Marianne, Keith and Anita, and… Brian Jones. However, the project never made it to the big screen.
Luckman then goes on to detail an overnight UFO-hunting excursion that both Richards and Pallenberg, along with musician and singer/songwriter, Gram Parsons embarked on in the California desert outside Joshua Tree in 1969. He claims,
Gram packed a picnic basket and high-powered binoculars. “We went there to watch UFOs,” said Keith rather matter-of-factly… they gazed up at the sky, watching the sunset and sunrise. But alas no space visitors joined the all-night cosmic vigil on the mountaintop.
Keith Richards and Gram Parsons at Joshua Tree.
In the video below – which has been uploaded from a ‘YouTube’ clip titled, ‘Keith Richards & Alien Life-Forms’ – the Rolling Stone says, “very few people saw them before we let off an atom bomb and suddenly, everybody started to see them… figure it out. You know, personally, I’ve never met one, you know, but there’s too many sane people out there that say they have, you know?”
In his book, Michael Luckman writes,
Marianne Faithfull said that at the height of the 1960s, Brian Jones and other friends in the Rolling Stones circle were “convinced that there was a mystic link between druidic monuments (such as Stonehenge) and flying saucers. Extraterrestrials were going to read these signs from their spaceships and get the message.” Asked by friends if he would climb aboard a flying saucer if one descended in front of him, Brian said that he was primed and ready to go. “Our friends are questioning the wisdom of an almost blind acceptance of religion compared with the total disregard for reports relating to things like unidentified flying objects,” said Brian.
Luckman states that Jones…
was known to drive many miles from his home around midnight to search for UFOs. Brian was so focused on the space theme that he purchased two planetary paintings to decorate the walls of his home… Brian commissioned David Hardy, the award-winning British science-fiction illustrator, to create two large acrylic paintings, 36” by 20”. One was titled, ‘Uranus from Titania,’ and the other, ‘Jupiter from Io.’
Fellow Rolling Stone, Bill Wyman reportedly said in a June 2001 British newspaper interview, “I’ve had a telescope since the 1970s and I love watching out for UFOs. I think I saw one eighteen months ago in the South of France. We spotted this orange disc hovering in the sky for half an hour and I filmed it with a movie-camera. The British UFO Council investigated it and drew a blank. The US Government has always denied any incidents with UFOs at Roswell, except it turns out that they’ve got millions of documents relating to them.” According to Michael Luckman’s book,
Bill Wyman theorised that “maybe ten percent” of all unidentified flying objects are genuine, which judging by the number of UFO reports in every country on Earth, would add up to quite a huge number, perhaps thousands or even tens of thousands over the years. “The media tend to really kill it (the UFO subject) because it’s the only way of stopping everyone getting s**t scared,” declared Bill. “There actually are beings who might be cleverer than us and might use us as cattle fodder, so they ridicule it and fob it off.” He urged people to “look at the factual evidence. I’m very logical, very black-and-white, and when I’m presented with proven facts I have to think about it.”
The Rolling Stones’ fascination with UFOs during the 1960s was indicative of the times. Former Indica bookshop proprietor, Barry Miles, a luminary of that decade’s British ’underground’ scene and close friend/associate/confidante with many of the Rock bands, Beat poets, writers, and avante-garde artists who blossomed during that period, has reportedly said, “from the mid-sixties onwards, you have what would have to be called a sort of LSD consciousness permeating the whole of the counter-culture side of British society. And… all these bands incorporate LSD-inspired imagery, and that of course was not the normal imagery of love songs and picking up girls, it was much more to do with a specifically British form of psychedelia which involved dancing gnomes and flying saucers. The people we knew led double lives, experimenting with Acid, spending entire evenings discussing flying saucers, ley lines and the court of King Arthur. Other people waited patiently at Arthur’s Tor for flying saucers to land.” Indeed, Keith Richards has been quoted as saying, “we got into a lot of those English eccentrics. People finding out all about those magnetic lines. We hung around a lot with John Michell, wandered around England a few weekends.” John Michell was the author of ‘The Flying Saucer Vision,’ first published in 1967. “A theme in my book was the connection between unidentified flying objects and ancient sites, as evidenced both in folklore and in contemporary experience,” he purportedly said. His other books include, ‘The View Over Atlantis’ (1969), ‘New Light on the Ancient Mystery of Glastonbury’ (1990), and ‘Who Wrote Shakespeare?’ (1996) among many others.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards at Stonehenge, 1967. Photographed by Michael Cooper.
In 1968, the Rolling Stones wiped themselves free of the psychedelic, Acid-soaked excesses of ‘Satanic Majesties’ with the release of their follow-up single. Well… maybe not entirely perhaps? Titled ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash,’ it was, essentially, a return to their musical roots but harder, tighter, and funkier than before. The B-side however, ‘Child of the Moon,‘ was reminiscent of the material on their LSD-soaked 1967 album, what with its mystical-sounding title, jangling guitars and drawling vocals. This song came with a promo-film that some might describe as ‘creepy’ and somewhat baffling – too baffling for ‘Conspiro Media‘ to decipher, any way. So, instead, here’s an interpretation of it courtesy of Andrew Male, the deputy-editor of the UK music-magazine, ‘Mojo‘…
‘Child of the Moon’ plays like a British sci-fi / horror-short, seemingly referencing Italian giallo, ‘Village of the Damned,’ and J. Lee Thompson’s 1966 pagan horror (and ‘Wicker Man’ forerunner) ‘Eye of the Devil.’
The film possesses the dusk-light glow of a peaking Acid-trip, magic-hour euphoria tinged with a chilly unease, yet also tunes into the darker subtext of the Stones occult dalliances.
This is a music-promo in which a lone woman – her face dirty and smeared with tears – stumbles out of a dark wood only to encounter a gang of five frowning men blocking her path. The most grim and obvious interpretation is that this group are potential sex aggressors. Another reading, and one perhaps more in keeping with the song’s more mystical qualities, is that Jagger et al are auguries of excess. Even so, the woman is being warned to go no further. This is your future? Maybe. Or perhaps, simply, this is not for you, dear. Either way, turn back now.
Whether wholly intentional or not, ‘Child of the Moon’ stands as one of the most disturbing and powerful representations of the Rolling Stones’ fiendish late ‘60s mythology…
Andrew Male also states that “on paper“ the song,
is Jagger’s polytheistic love letter to Marianne Faithfull, a mash note laced with a little elemental riddle and mystery. However, on record, it actually feels closer to pagan curse than lyric poem…
You can read Andrew Male’s article in full here:
CHILD OF THE MOON
The wind blows rain into my face
The sun glows at the end of the highway
Child of the moon, rub your rainy eyes
Oh, child of the moon
Give me a wide-awake crescent-shaped smile
She shivers, by the light she is hidden
She flickers like a lamp lady vision
Child of the moon, rub your rainy eyes
Child of the moon
Give me a wide-awake crescent-shaped smile
The first car on the foggy road riding
The last star for my lady is pining
Oh, child of the moon, bid the sun arise
Oh, child of the moon
Give me a misty day, pearly grey, silver, silky faced,
Wide-awake crescent-shaped smile
Watch the promo of ‘Child of the Moon’ for yourself, right here:
Whether intentional or not, ‘Child of the Moon’ was a parting nod to the psychedelia of the ‘Satanic Majesties’ era. The Stones would never sound like this again.
Mmmm… INTERESTING: The front and back-cover of the original record-sleeve of ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ and ‘Child of the Moon.’
The flip-side, ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ was a taste of things to come, the birth of a new era for the band – a reinvention of sorts, or, as Keith Richards describes it in his memoirs, “this whole new idea started to blossom, this new second wind.”
In December 1968, the Rolling Stones unleashed the album, ‘Beggars Banquet.’ It’s often hailed as the starting-point of the band’s four-year ‘golden age’ period when they recorded and released an uninterrupted run of Rock classics. “That was the most important time for the band,” Keith Richards reportedly said in 2002. “It was the first change The Stones had to make after the teeny-bopper phase… Mick and I developed the song-writing and records. ‘Beggars Banquet’ was like coming out of puberty.”
‘Beggars Banquet’ album.
According to author, Philip Norman in his book, ‘The Stones: The Definitive Biography,’ their art-dealer friend, Christopher Gibbs came up with the name ‘Beggars Banquet’ “in accordance with the prevailing atmosphere of wizards, hobgoblins, and devilish paradox.” It’s the album that includes what is probably their most controversial track ever, ‘Sympathy for the Devil.’ It was chiefly written by Jagger who, in the 2012 official Rolling Stones documentary, ‘Crossfire Hurricane,‘ says some of the inspiration for it came to him from the writings of 19th century French essayist, art-critic, and poet, Charles Baudelaire whose most famous work was a volume of poems; ‘Le Fleurs du mal’ (‘The Flowers of Evil’). Born in Paris in 1821, the son of a former priest-turned-civil servant, he received a large financial inheritance on his 21st birthday but quickly squandered it on an extravagant lifestyle and spent the remainder of his days in debt struggling to get by. An opium user, and prone to depression to the point of attempting suicide, it’s said he contracted syphilis during his twenties, perhaps from a prostitute. He died aged just 46 after spending time in a nursing home stricken with paralysis.
In order to gain a possible deeper understanding of Baudelaire’s work and what might’ve inspired Jagger, let’s take note of what Arnold Louis Weinstein, the Professor of Comparative Literature at the illustrious ‘Brown University’ in the US had to say about the poet during a lecture at Harvard in 1997. He said his poems showed “a terrible yearning to get clear of the constraints of his life” through “voyage, escape, transcendence, and he seeks it in countless different ways. Travel. Voyage. Trip – Tripping. Baudelaire is one of the great experts about drugs… he experimented with hashish and he wrote about its effects on him, and he writes poems about wine, and about drugs. One of his prose pieces is called, ‘Get Drunk,’ and it’s all about getting clear of the dreary constraints of your everyday situation. Baudelaire is the poet of boredom – that life is terrible – we have to find ways – artificial or poetic, or other – to somehow transcend this, to get beyond this. One of the most fascinating elements in Baudelaire’s treatment of voyage, is sex. He’s one of the great erotic poets in the French language.” But his sex-poems landed him in trouble. Shortly after ‘The Flowers of Evil’ was published in 1857, he ended up in court over some of its contents which were deemed an offence to morality. He was fined, and six of the poems were ordered to be removed from the book. “Some of his poems that were censored were poems about lesbianism,” said Weinstein. “He writes two or three: ‘The Damned Women’ – the Women Who Are Condemned – and also ‘Lesbos,’ and he talks about the search for some kind of infinite pleasure that lesbianism might make possible.”
He also wrote “many poems about beauty as a way of getting clear of the monotony and the ugliness of modern life. He is also wonderful at finding new subjects for beauty, one of his most famous poems is called, ’The Carcass.’ And it’s about two lovers walking through the streets and they come to the carcass of a dead animal on the sidewalk. And the poet explains to his woman that there is obviously a kind of message here, ’we should quickly enjoy the possibilities of love because this is what is going to happen to both of us.’ But beyond what the poet says within the poem, is the clear obvious message that writing about a carcass can be a form of poetry. Rembrandt did this much earlier in one.. some of his paintings about hanging meat and things like that. These are shocking because they break the canons and conventions of what acceptable subject matter are. But it says something about Baudelaire’s obsession to make things beautiful. In one of his poems about beauty, he says, ‘whether you come from heaven or hell, it makes no difference.’” This brings us neatly onto another of his poems, taken from ‘The Flowers of Evil,’ titled, ‘Litanies of Satan’…
Wisest of Angels, whom your fate betrays,
And, fairest of them all, deprives of praise,
Satan have pity on my long despair!
O Prince of exiles, who have suffered wrong,
Yet, vanquished, rise from every fall more strong,
Satan have pity on my long despair!
All-knowing lord of subterranean things,
Who remedy our human sufferings,
Satan have pity on my long despair!
To lepers and lost beggars full of lice,
You teach, through love, the taste of Paradise.
Satan have pity on my long despair!
You who on Death, your old and sturdy wife,
Engendered Hope – sweet folly of this life –
Satan have pity on my long despair!
You give to the doomed man that calm, snaffled
Gaze that rebukes the mob around the scaffold,
Satan have pity on my long despair!
You know in what closed corners of the earth
A jealous God has hidden gems of worth.
Satan have pity on my long despair!
You know the deepest arsenals, where slumber
The breeds of buried metals without number.
Satan have pity on my long despair!
You whose huge land has hidden the abyss
From sleepwalkers that skirt the precipice,
Satan have pity on my long despair!
You who give suppleness to drunkards’ bones
When trampled down by horses on the stones,
Satan have pity on my long despair!
You who, to make his sufferings the lighter,
Taught man to mix the sulphur with the nitre,
Satan have pity on my long despair!
You fix your mask, accomplice full of guile,
On rich men’s foreheads, pitiless and vile.
Satan have pity on my despair!
You who fill the hearts and eyes of whores
With love of trifles and the cult of sores,
Satan have pity on my long despair!
The exile’s staff, inventor’s lamp, caresser
Of hanged men, and of plotters the confessor,
Satan have pity on my long despair!
Step-father of all those who, robbed of pardon,
God drove in anger out of Eden’s garden
Satan have pity on my long despair!
Praise to you, Satan! In the heights you lit,
And also in the deeps where now you sit,
Vanquished, in Hell, and dream in hushed defiance
O that my soul, beneath the Tree of Science
Might rest near you, while shadowing your brows,
It spreads a second Temple with its boughs.
According to Robert R. Daniel Ph.D. in his book, ‘The Poetry of Villon and Baudelaire,’ the above poem finds its writer turning “in prayer to Satan, with whom he empathises. Satan has, like humankind, suffered what he considers divine injustice.” A form of sympathy for the Devil then? Interestingly, ’Litanies of Satan’ has been adopted by the notorious Church of Satan. However, Arnold Weinstein has argued that “Baudelaire is, despite himself, a deeply Catholic poet. Sin is everywhere on his agenda.” Indeed, it’s said Baudelaire received the last rites of the Catholic Church shortly before his death.
It’s in one of Baudelaire’s poems that we find the original source for the phrase, ‘the Devil’s finest trick is to persuade you that he doesn’t exist.’ It comes from ‘The Generous Gambler,’ in which he states, “my beloved brothers, never forget when you hear people boast of our progress in enlightenment, that one of the Devil’s best ruses is to persuade you that he does not exist!” This is a theme that shows up in another of Jagger’s inspirations for ‘Sympathy for the Devil,’ the Russian novel, ‘The Master and Margarita’ by Mikhail Bulgakov. It charts the exploits of Satan as he makes his way around 1930s Moscow under the guise of ‘Professor Woland,’ a mysterious gentleman magician of some sophistication. Together with his fiendish accomplices that includes a talking cat and an expert assassin, he leaves behind a trail of mayhem and tragedy across the city. In the opening chapter, we’re introduced to two men sitting on a bench by a pond. One of them is a poet, the other, his editor, who wants him to write an ‘anti-religious poem’ denying the existence of Jesus Christ, and who tells him, “there is not a single eastern religion where an immaculate virgin does not, as a matter of course, bring forth a god into the world. And the Christians, displaying no originality whatsoever, followed the same pattern when they created their Jesus, who, in fact, never existed at all… the fact is that a whole host of sons of God were born even before Jesus, like say, the Persian Mithras.” Sitting on a neighbouring bench is Professor Woland who proceeds to get up and make his way towards the two men. It’s here we find a glaring parallel with the opening line of ’Sympathy for the Devil’ when Jagger sings, “Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste.” In the novel, Satan says to the poet and his editor, “please, excuse me for presuming to speak to you without an introduction…” Having listened-in on their conversation regarding the non-existence of Christ, he informs them that, based on his own personal experience, he did in fact exist. He then recounts what he claims is his own eye-witness account of Jesus being brought before Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem. Again, here we can find parallels with the lyrics to ’Sympathy for the Devil’ in the line, “I was around when Jesus Christ had his moment of doubt and pain. Made damn sure that Pilate washed his hands and sealed his fate.” Clearly, Jagger is taking on the role of Satan in the song and giving us an account of his journey through major events of history including the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Second World War, and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, and his brother, Robert.
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL
Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stolen many a man’s soul and faith
And I was around when Jesus Christ
Had His moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed His fate
Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game
I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the Tzar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain
I rode a tank, held a general’s rank
When the blitzkrieg raged and the bodies stank
Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game, ah yes
I watched with glee while your kings and queens
Fought for 10 decades for the gods they made
I shouted out ‘Who killed the Kennedys?’
When after all it was you and me
Let me please introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
And I lay traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reach Bombay
Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name, oh yes
But what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game, ah yeah
Get down, baby
Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name, oh yeah
But what’s confusing you is just the nature of my game, mmm yeah
Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the
As heads is tails, just call me Lucifer
Cause I’m in need of some restraint
So if you meet me, have some courtesy
Have some sympathy and some taste
Use all your well learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, mmm yeah
Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name, mmm yeah
But what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game, mmm baby
Ah yeah, get on down
Tell me, baby, what’s my name?
Tell me, honey, can you guess my name?
Tell me, baby, what’s my name?
I’ll tell you one time, you’re to blame
Ah yes, what’s my name?
Tell me, baby, what’s my name?
Tell me, sweetie, what’s my name?
It’s said that the line in the song, “I shouted out, ’who killed the Kennedys‘” was originally written as, “I shouted out, ‘who killed Kennedy’” but was changed following the shooting of Robert in June ‘68 when the track had yet to be completed. “You can’t pin their deaths on anyone,” Jagger reportedly said in 1969. “There were so many people who would have liked to see them dead.” Ultimately though, the lyrics tell us that ‘it was you and me’ who are responsible. “It is our responsibility because crime in our society is our responsibility,” he purportedly stated. As for the constant accusations that the song is alluding to black magic, he’s replied, “my whole thing of this song was not black magic… It was different than that. I knew lots of people that were into Aleister Crowley. What I’m saying is, it wasn’t what I meant by the song ‘Sympathy for the Devil.’ If you read it, it’s not about black magic, per se.” In a 1987 ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine interview, journalist, Mikal Gilmore asked Jagger if ’Sympathy for the Devil’ was actually intended more as a comment on the nature of personal evil, the idea that the Devil lives inside each of us, and less about boasting an alliance with Satan, as has been the perception of many music-fans. He replied, “well, I don’t want to start explaining my old songs, because I think it’s more pleasurable for people to have their own interpretation of a song or a novel or a film… but your point of view seems a pretty valid one to me. You got it right, more or less.” He continued, “I thought it was a really odd thing, because it was only one song, after all. It wasn’t like it was a whole album with lots of occult signs on the back.” Maybe so, but the on-going speculation and suspicion surrounding The Stones’ associations with Satan in whatever shape or form aren’t based on “only one song,” are they? If they were, then perhaps it would indeed be “really odd” to continually pour doubt over ‘Sympathy for the Devil’?
In the excerpt below, you can see Jagger seemingly revelling in his role as Satan whilst performing the song on the 1968 concert-film, ‘The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus.’ Three quarters of the way into the number, he gets on his knees wailing and shrieking as he does then lowers his body down to the floor holding his arms out in front of him as though in reverence to some invisible, dark entity…
Is this an example of his “acting,” or is there something else going on here? Judge for yourself…
If you watch the video above, you’ll see Mick peeling off his shirt and showing off his fake chest-tattoo of the Devil. Was this in any way inspired by the Stones’ relationship with occult film-director and Aleister Crowley devotee, Kenneth Anger who was on close and friendly terms with members of the band at the time?…
Mick Jagger (left), flaunting his Devil-tattoo on the ‘Rock and Roll Circus.’ On the right, a recent photo of Kenneth Anger with his infamous ‘Lucifer’ tattoo.
It was Anger, so it’s said, who was responsible – albeit indirectly – for introducing Mick Jagger to ’The Master and Margarita,’ the novel that would inspire ‘Sympathy for the Devil.’ He’d purportedly recommended the book to Marianne Faithfull who then in turn gave it to her Rock-star boyfriend. Indeed, in her memoirs, she does recall “I had given him Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’ to read – he devoured it in one night and spit out ‘Sympathy for the Devil.’” Additionally, it’s said the song also came about as a result of conversations the Stones front-man had with Anger. According to Tony Sanchez, a one-time nightclub-doorman and casino croupier with connections to London’s seedy gangster underworld who then went on to work for Keith Richards for a number of years buying his drugs, running his errands and keeping him company, “Mick, Marianne, Keith… Anita, and many others of the new, rich jaded Rock aristocracy listened spellbound as Anger turned them on to Crowley’s powers and ideas.”
Mick, Anita Pallenberg, and Keith at London’s Heathrow Airport, 1968.
He makes the claim in his book, ‘Up and Down with the Rolling Stones. My Rollercoaster Ride with Keith Richards.’ Anger, now well into his eighties, has insisted, “I am not a Satanist. I am a pagan.” However, he was a friend of Anton LaVey the now deceased founder of the Church of Satan. Furthermore, former member, Michael Aquino has reportedly said the notorious film-director was part of “the core” back in the mid-1960s that “gradually stabilised into what Anton called his ‘Magic Circle‘… and it was the nucleus of what would… become the Church of Satan” in 1966. “He was definitely more of a Satanist. He spent a hell of a lot of time with the Church of Satan – he was always hanging around,” LaVey was quoted as saying.
Anger was also, in his own words, “a close friend” of Donald Cammell, the British movie-maker who cast Mick Jagger as a lead in the cult-classic, ‘Performance.’ Charles Richard Cammell, his father, was a poet and author who wrote the 1951 book, ‘Aleister Crowley. The Man, The Mage, The Poet.’ Kenneth has said, “Aleister Crowley was a friend of Charles R. Cammell. Donald told me that he sat on Aleister Crowley’s knee.” Indeed, the so-called ‘Great Beast’ lived nearby and used to draw-up 400-page horoscopes for the writer’s children. It’s rumoured that he also became godfather to Donald, who‘s reportedly stated, “my father filled the house with magicians, spiritualists, and demons.”
Filmed in 1968, ‘Performance’ was Cammell’s directorial debut. It’s the story of a London gangster (played by English actor, James Fox) who, after shooting dead a rival who’s subjected him to a brutal beating, goes on the run and then finds refuge inside a house where Turner (Jagger), a retired and reclusive Rock-star lives. According to the Stones front-man’s official website, it’s “an uncompromising essay in sex, drugs, Rock and Roll, and violence.” Anita Pallenberg also appears in the movie. She says Donald was “really fascinated by the whole Pop scene.“ She first met him in Paris in the early 1960s when she was working as a model. She later introduced him to Brian Jones. Cammell has said he and the musician both “became friends instantly.” Jagger recalls the director being “very interested in the mysteries of life.”
The English actress, Barbara Steele, a star of a number of sixties horror films including the hailed ‘classic,’ ‘Black Sunday,’ also knew him. “He had these little demonic teeth,” she’s said… “these little fangs… and you half expected him to have a little tail… he was like a Pan creature.” Pallenberg, remembering one particular moment with Cammell during the filming of a scene in ’Performance’ which is set in Turner’s kitchen, says, “I know that there was a lot of kind of little ritual things that always had to be there.” For example, “when we were in the kitchen there’s this thing about the way we lay the forks and the knives and that was all part of Donald’s kind of little magic things that he knew about and he just made us do them.”
The music-critic and author, Barney Hoskyns states in his book, ‘Hotel California,’ that the soundtrack to the movie, which was masterminded by respected composer, producer, and arranger, Jack Nitzche, was “composed in a witch’s cottage, with Donald Cammell plying Nitzche with cocaine.” Incidentally, there’s one particular musical moment from the film worth noting. It’s from the scene where Fox’s character is lying on a bed having his badly beaten body tended to by Pherber, one of the female inhabitants of the house (played by Pallenberg). Nearby, Jagger (Turner) picks away at a guitar, merging together two numbers, ‘Come On in My Kitchen’ and ‘Me and the Devil Blues,‘ both written by the legend that is Robert Johnson who’s said to have been given his talents by Satan after trading in his soul at a meeting on a crossroads in Mississippi back in the early half of the last century. In her book ‘Robert Johnson, Mythmaking, and Contemporary American Culture,’ author, Professor Patricia R. Schroeder writes, “’Me and the Devil Blues’ describes the singer’s awakening one morning to a knock on the door, only to find Satan standing there, warning him that ‘it’s time to go’ and then walking by his side and encouraging his evil thoughts.”
ME AND THE DEVIL BLUES
Early this morning
When you knocked upon my door
Early this morning
When you knocked upon my door
And I said, “Hello Satan
I believe it’s time to go.”
Me and the Devil
Was walkin’ side by side
Me and the Devil
Was walking side by side
I’m going to beat my woman
Until I get satisfied.
She said you don’t see why
That I will dog her ‘round
Now baby you know you ain’t doin’ me right
She say you don’t see why
That I will dog her ‘round
It must be that old evil spirit
So deep down in the ground
You may bury my body
Down by the highway side
Baby, I don’t care where you bury my body when I’m dead and gone
You may bury my body
Down by the highway side
So my old evil spirit
Can get a Greyhound bus and ride
Released in 1970, Cammell has said ‘Performance’ “brings the Neanderthal gangster and the effete yellow-book world of the Rock-star into one demonic fusion.”
‘Conspiro Media’ will be examining this movie and the making of it in greater detail in the third instalment of this article.
Some two months on from the release of ‘Beggars Banquet’ in December ‘68, the Rolling Stones were in the studio working on their follow-up album by which time Brian Jones’s contribution to the band had become almost non-existent. In 1995, Jagger said, “he had a huge contribution in the early days. He was very obsessed with it, which you always need… getting it going and its personality and how it should be. He was obsessed.“ But, he claims, “he went from (being) an obsessive about the band to being rather an outsider. He let his health deteriorate because he drank too much and took drugs when they were new, hung out too much, stayed up too late, partied too much and didn’t concentrate on what he was doing. Let his talent slide. He wouldn’t come to the studio. He wouldn’t do anything. We felt we couldn’t go on. In fact, we came to a point where we couldn’t play live. We couldn’t hold our heads up and play because Brian was a total liability. He wasn’t playing well, wasn’t playing at all, couldn’t hold the guitar. It was pathetic.” It’s said Jones’s previous drug convictions were preventing him from receiving a US work-permit at a time when The Stones were making plans for a North American concert-tour scheduled for late 1969. He’d been busted for possession of marijuana twice; first in May ‘67 and then again in May ‘68. As a result, it was suggested that the band add a new guitarist.
OMINOUS NUMBER-PLATES: Some screen-shots of Brian Jones’s car-registration plates; ‘DD 666.’ The first two pics are reportedly taken from June 1967 as he leaves West London Magistrates Court in relation to drugs charges. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
On the subject of Brian’s car (above) and the intriguing registration-plate, Bill Wyman has been quoted as saying: “I don’t know whether he bought it for its eerie registration-plate, which was DD 666. ‘DD’ could stand for Devil’s Disciple, and the three sixes are the mark of the beast in ‘Revelations.’ Brian must have been aware of it, because he was intrigued by demonology and magic; even if he acquired the number-plate by pure chance, it seemed to mark a turning point, for the rest of his life was mostly tragic.”
The Stones’ new guitarist was a 20-year-old former member of the pioneering British group, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. His name, Mick Taylor. “It was John Mayall that told me that they were looking for a guitar player and to expect a call from Mick,” he recalled in 2001.
Mick Taylor, 1969.
He was invited down to the recording-studio where the band were working on their follow-up to ‘Beggars Banquet’ and was asked “to put the finishing touches to a couple of tracks.” In an interview available on ‘ClassicBands.com‘ he said, “they seemed to like me, so it was kind of like, more or less settled there and then.” Brian’s days in The Stones were coming to their end. Some time in early June ‘69, members of the band visited him at his country home. Keith has claimed, “it was very important to us the fact that we were gonna go back out on the road that we resolve this thing with Brian, so Mick and I had to go down and tell Brian virtually like, ‘hey cock, you’re fired.’ The fact that he was expecting it made it kind of easier, I guess, you know, he wasn‘t surprised.” The media were notified that Jones was no longer in the band shortly after this meeting, and the arrival of Mick Taylor into the line-up was formally declared too. The band also announced it was to hold a free concert in London’s Hyde Park on July 5th. Then, just two days before the gig was due to take place, Brian died. The coroner’s report concluded that he’d drowned in the swimming pool of his country-house whilst under the influence of drink and drugs. The verdict was “misadventure.“
Brian was the first in a line of 1960s music-giants to die at the age of 27. Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin were to follow between 1969 and 1971, as was Jim Morrison whose death was reported exactly two years after Jones’s on July 3rd ‘71. Since then, other high-profile musicians and singers including Amy Winehouse have also succumbed. Furthermore, all the above lost their lives due to circumstances attributed in one way or another to either drugs or alcohol or both. In the case of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, who died in 1994, suicide was the cause – albeit ‘officially’ (but that’s another subject for another time!). So, taking all this into account; not only did these talented artists bow out at the same age, but as a result of some form of abuse, violence or direct outside influence. Even Jim Morrison, who is listed in the coroner’s report as having died a “natural death” due to “heart failure,“ is said to have actually met his end from a fatal heroin overdose which was then covered-up by the people who’d sold him the drugs in the first place. According to the latest ‘Wikipedia’ figures, a total of 44 well-known musicians/singers have lost their lives at 27 (including Robert Johnson, incidentally). Fifteen of those are reportedly dead as a result of either drugs, alcohol, murder or suicide. All this has fuelled speculation that there is something unusually common about the seemingly high number of music-artists who’ve died at this age and the circumstances surrounding their premature deaths although that’s not the view that’s been expressed by statistician, Adrian Barnett Ph.D. after conducting a study into this. He examined the lifespan of every solo-artist and band-member who had a Number One hit on the UK Album Charts between 1956 and 2007. His results were then published in the ‘British Medical Journal’ in 2011. It states, “famous musicians do not have an increased risk of death at 27, but they do have a generally increased risk of death during their 20s and 30s compared with the UK population.” However, in an interview available on ‘ScienceNetLinks.com,’ he does acknowledge that he and his team “did find a very small blip in risk at age 27” although “there were also very similar blips at age 25 and 32.” Be that as it may, at least one of the estimated forty or so artists who gained entry into what has come to be known as the ‘27 Club’ – namely, Amy Winehouse – is said to have harboured genuine fears about it. That’s according to Alex Haines her former personal assistant. He talked about this with the now-defunct British tabloid, the ‘News of the World’ back in December 2008 – 31 months before she died of “misadventure” due to alcohol abuse. He was reported as saying that “it was my job to look after her. But it was impossible. She had to have a heroin and Crack pipe near her or she freaked out. She’d keep taking drugs until she passed out. Cutting herself was her favourite pastime. She reckoned she would join the ‘27 Club’ of Rock stars who died at that age. She told me, ‘I have a feeling I’m gonna die young.’” It’s perhaps worth noting that Brian Jones didn’t seem to hold out much hope of living to a ripe old age either – or anything close to it for that matter. Keith Richards has reportedly said, “there are some people who you know aren’t going to get old. Brian and I agreed that he, Brian, wouldn’t live very long… I remember saying, ‘you’ll never make 30, man,’ and he said, ‘I know.’” In her memoirs, Marianne Faithfull recalls, “as 1969 plunged on, I was becoming increasingly worried about Brian. I could feel something very nasty coming. So I suggested to Mick that we throw the I Ching about Brian and see what we should do. It was just dusk when I threw the coins. The reading I got was: Death by water. I turned to Mick and said, ‘it’s very odd, isn’t it?’ And he said, ‘my God. Do it again.’ I did it again, and I got the same thing. We just looked at each other. Finally I said, ‘look, this isn’t good at all. We’ve got to do something.’ And he said, ‘we ought to phone, see if he’s all right.’ And he actually did.” During a live-talk in 2013, former Rolling Stones manager, Andrew Loog Oldham referred to the ‘27 Club’ when he was asked to comment on his thoughts about Brian. He said Jones was a victim of “the ‘Saturn Death Club,’ which basically explains to you the ‘27 Club’; how many of those people died. When you haven’t got enough – not enough to get up tomorrow, but enough for the next actual chapter… he was also basically like a cat who’d had nine lives and then made a mistake and then went into recall… he wore himself out.” So, once again the ringed planet makes an appearance in this article. Presumably, the ‘Death Club’ that Loog Oldham associates it with, relates directly to what’s commonly known amongst those who study the influence of celestial bodies on people and events as, the ‘Saturn Return’ phenomenon? It’s believed this affects a person’s life during their late-twenties. Veteran astrologer, Rob Tillett states, “giant Saturn, the outermost planet in our solar system visible to the naked eye, spends some two and a half years in each sign, taking about twenty-nine years to complete his journey around the zodiac. Long experience shows that there are two (or sometimes three) especially significant periods of transition in a human lifespan; these are when Saturn returns by transit to the place in the zodiac he occupied when you were born. Astrologers call this dimensional shift the ‘Saturn Return.’ Each twenty-nine years naturally presents us with the challenge to rise to new levels of awareness, or face the consequences of having failed to gain the wisdom required to do so. This critical phase only happens once every 29 years, so at around age 28 – 30, 57 – 59, and (if you live long enough) 86 – 88, you have a Saturn Return. It signifies a definite time of transformation, an emotional transition from one life-phase to the next.” Tillett’s knowledge of the Saturn Return is featured in the 2008 book, ‘The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll.’ It’s written by Eric Segalstad:
Turning thirty is a big deal. Many experience the last years of their twenties as a transitional phase between youth and maturity. Thirty marks the real entry to adulthood – and age where most people have completed their university degrees, found their vocation, and are comfortably settled in a relationship – or not.
Renowned astrologer Rob Tillett, who spent the ‘70s as a touring Rock & Roller in his native Australia and now publishes the popular site, ‘Astrology on the Web,’ says that we spend the end of our twenties “clearing the decks of karmic debris for a clean course for the next cycle.”
Astrologers argue that Saturn Return is one of life’s most important thresholds as it intensifies one’s feelings of sadness, isolation and purpose. In the words of Rob Hand, author of ‘Planets in Transit,’ it’s “a time of endings and new beginnings.”
Saturn is known as the “greater malefic,” or “the killing planet,” and it manifests itself in various ways. “Saturn demands resolution and restructuring,” Tillett says. “Resolution of unfinished business and restructuring of our lives to move forward into the future.”
The changes instigated by Saturn are really fantastic opportunities for those who are ready and capable of making major changes in their lives – harvesting what’s sown.
“Saturn rules the responsibilities, restrictions and limitations we are apt to encounter, and the lessons we must learn in life. He does not deny or diminish imagination, inspiration, spirituality, or good fortune, but he does demand that these things be given structure and meaning,” Tillett explains.
The 27s died before their Saturn returned, and Tillett postulates that other astrological factors are involved. “The 27th year is an incredibility hefty one,” he notes. “Astrologically, it’s the building up to Saturn Return, but other key factors are at work too.”
Moving at less than one degree per month, it takes the moon 27 to 28 years to make it 360 degrees around the zodiac. At that point, the moon revisits its natal position: “The first progressed Lunar Return at age 27 marks the beginning of the difficult transition from the Phase of Youth to the Phase of Maturity,” Tillett says. “The pace of our lives seems to accelerate, as we hurry to clear the decks of karmic debris, in preparation for the next grand stage of the great journey of life. This transitional phase lasts until the Saturn Return, which usually occurs within a year or two.”
Another strong effect occurs when the moon’s pathway crosses the sun’s course. These sensitive points are known as the moon’s nodes (also called the dragon’s head and tail). “A collision between the north and south nodes occur during the 27th year, which often generates intense insecurities that lead to major transformations of the life-path,” Tillett adds.
For the 27s, Tillett theorises, “their energy is so heavily pushed into a particular channel (i.e. music) and when that channel dries up, they don’t know how to move through the pathway.”
On July 5th 1969 – as scheduled – the Rolling Stones performed at Hyde Park in front of an audience of hundreds of thousands. Before the band launched into its first song though, passages from ’Adonais’ by 19th century English poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley were read-out by Mick Jagger in memory of Brian. In his book, ‘Take a Walk on the Dark Side: Rock and Roll Myths, Legends, and Curses,’ R. Gary Patterson makes the observation that “strangely, there were a number of parallels between the life of Shelley and that of Brian Jones. Both men died before the age of thirty, both drowned, both men were considered to be outcasts from society due to their creative forces, both experimented with drugs, and both were fascinated by the occult. The passages from Shelley were more than appropriate!” Jagger read the following verses from the poem to the crowd:
Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep
He hath awakened from the dream of life
‘Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance, strike with our spirit’s knife
Invulnerable nothings. — We decay
Like corpses in a charnel; fear and grief
Convulse us and consume us day by day,
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.
The One remains, the many change and pass;
Heaven’s light forever shines, Earth’s shadows fly;
Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
Until Death tramples it to fragments. — Die,
If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
Follow where all is fled!
The concert was recorded by a British TV-crew and then broadcast later that year although in a heavily-edited form.
Mick and Keith performing at The Stones’ 1969 Hyde Park gig.
Kenneth Anger was also filming the gig, the results of which can be seen in his 1969 11-minute short, ‘Invocation of My Demon Brother,’ which Jagger wrote and played the music for. The movie takes us through a fairly rapid succession of clips, including intermittent scenes of a funeral for a cat. The occult director talked about these particular shots during the commentary for the DVD re-release. He says, “our pet cat was hit by a car and killed,“ and in the film, “the cat is on a kind of altar – later we buried him in the front yard.” Anger also stars in the short. He can be seen performing a ceremony, which he says, took place at a California theatre in front of a live audience on the autumn equinox.
Kenneth Anger performing his ceremony on ‘Invocation of My Demon Brother.’
Also starring in the movie is Anton LaVey with, Anger claims, “his shrunken heads of cats.”
Anton LaVey in ‘Invocation…’
Anger has said the movie is partly based on Aleister Crowley’s novel, ‘Moonchild.’ Published in 1929, it tells the story of Lisa la Giuffria, a young woman who falls for Cyril Grey, a white magician she meets in London just prior to the First World War. He persuades her to take part in an experiment in which she must give birth to a child with a “moon-soul.” To achieve this, they travel to Italy and a secluded villa which has been tailored to “invoke the moon’s influence.” The book describes her Italian living-quarters as “designed or chosen so that it might turn the girl’s mind to the Earth’s satellite… A single scheme of colour embraced the whole suite; white, blue and silver. The tapestries, the carpets, the very ceilings, were wholly in these and no other lights… the very objects in the apartment were crescent-shaped, and the only metal in evidence was silver.” Within the walls of the villa, she spends her days making love to Grey and taking part in regular magickal rituals designed to bring about the manifestation of the Moonchild. In one particular ceremony held in the garden of the property, Lisa is renamed, Iliel. Crowley writes that this was chosen partly “on account of its sympathy of number to the moon; for the name is Hebrew, in which language its characters have the value of 81, the square of 9, the sacred number of the moon.” She’s clothed in a specially-prepared and consecrated garment of pale blue and silver “and the secret sigils of the moon were woven cunningly upon its hem.” Grey meanwhile has donned himself in goat-skins to resemble the god, Pan. He runs towards Iliel in the garden, flings her over his shoulder, and strides “triumphant” into the house. Anger has reportedly said of the connection between his ‘Invocation‘ movie and Crowley‘s novel, “there’s a ceremony in ‘Moonchild,’ and the creation of a moonchild, which is the idea that you can have a baby between two people. It usually takes two people to make a baby but not always. I mean, in other words, the legend is that there’s such a thing as the Immaculate Conception. There’s never an ‘immaculate’ conception. You can have one person and an entity, and the entity is not necessarily human. In other words, the moonchild would be the moon-spirit impregnating the woman, and the Christians would turn that and say it was the Virgin Mary. But as a matter of fact, she’s still pregnant, she still had intercourse but it wasn’t with a human – if you believe the Christian myth, which I don’t. But yes. It‘s an influence and I show the title of the book in one shot so I acknowledge the influence. And I have that title, which is the only title, that says ‘ZAP, YOU‘RE PREGNANT. THAT‘S WITCHCRAFT‘… ‘ZAP‘ is still a magickal word because it comes from the sound of electricity: ZAP – it‘s something that‘s very quick, and that‘s why I used it.” It’s said Crowley’s novel is based on his own repeated efforts to conceive a magickal child, none of which reportedly worked. One should perhaps wonder whether the Great Beast’s book was actually the inspiration behind the Rolling Stones’ track ‘Child of the Moon’ also?
Jagger’s soundtrack to ’Invocation’ was composed and played on a ‘Moog’ synthesiser, an instrument that, during the 1960s, essentially paved the way for the popularisation of electronic music in Pop & Rock. Anger claims that, after showing Mick the film, “he offered to do the soundtrack for me on the Moog synthesiser that he’d just bought, and we projected the film and he’s improvised on the Moog.”
‘SATURN RETURNS ONCE AGAIN’ – A shot from the ‘Invocation’ movie
‘Invocation of My Demon Brother’ was made up from remnants of thrown-away film-cuttings from an earlier movie-project that Anger was working on and known to all as ‘Lucifer Rising.’ The footage of it that wasn‘t binned, he claims, was stolen by Bobby Beausoloeil, a musician who’s said to have been involved in a homosexual affair with him and, as has been noted in the first instalment of this three-part article, later went on to participate in the murder of music-teacher, Gary Hinman, a killing linked to none other than Charles Manson, and which he is serving a life-sentence for. Kenneth has reportedly said, “he stole my van, he stole the film, he betrayed me. I gave him money to buy some musical things for his band, instead he went and bought a huge amount of marijuana in Mexico, and drove up in my van with my license-plates on the van, full of bales of marijuana. He stored them in my studio. He sneaked them in and stored them. Our dog began sniffing these wrapped-up plastic packages, and then I cut one open and there was all this Grass. It was my apartment and if anyone was gonna get busted I was gonna get it… So I picked up the bales, threw them down the front step, and I’m not particularly a physically hefty hunk of a guy or anything like that but when I’m mad… I picked him up by the scruff of his neck when he came home after a late date and tossed him down the front-stair. And that was the end of our relationship. But… he waited. He had a real old car that kept breaking down and everything, but I had the van… He knew I never cooked, and he waited until I went out to dinner with a friend. Then he broke into the place, stole all the film and then stole the van. So I came back and there was no van, no film, and he was gone. I knew he did it, nobody else could have done it. But he was arrested for murder two years after he left me. He left me in ’67.”
Although the links between the Rolling Stones and Charles Manson might possibly, on the face of it, look inconsequential, they are worth highlighting in this three-part retrospective due to the fact that they keep popping up in the band‘s history, and, as the saying goes, “there’s no smoke without fire.” Whether that well-known adage applies here, only you can decide. ‘Conspiro Media’ is merely laying down the connections however tenuous they might or might not seem and then leaving you to weigh them up – and here’s another one… A man by the name of Phil Kaufman. “I was working for the Rolling Stones on their album ‘Beggars Banquet,‘” he’s said. “Mick Jagger was mixing the album with his producer in LA, and I was basically looking after him, acting as his ‘executive nanny.’ Actually, he’s the one that gave me that name – somebody asked him who I was and why I was always around, and Mick replied, ‘that’s my executive nanny,’ so the name kind of stuck.” The exact details of his job with The Stones reportedly included taking care “of all the little, petty business-deals, shopping, security, booking studio-time, getting them to work on time, making sure they were comfortable in the studio, screening their calls, keeping them healthy.” However, directly prior to that, he’d been in jail, during which time he’d met and befriended fellow inmate, Charles Manson. “I was one of the marijuana felons of the sixties. I got five years in prison without probation, without parole. I met Charles… and… we just kinda got together,” he said in a TV-interview.
Their relationship, he claims, was bolstered by a mutual interest in music. He recalls, “I heard Charles sing and I was quite impressed with him… so I got to know him… I asked him to see a friend of mine in regards to recording, and I in turn notified my friend in the recording-business that this fellow would ‘perhaps stop and see you.’ He did so at a later date, after he got out in ‘67. And it wasn’t for maybe four or five months later that he went to see my friend and they did record him. When I got out I tried to re-establish contact with him in order to further the music interest.” Indeed, Kaufman says he went and lived with Manson for two months after he was released from prison in 1968, and also claims to have got up-close and somewhat personal with the female members of the so-called ‘Family’ who would go on to take part in the grisly Tate/LaBianca killings just over a year later. He’s declared (with a smile on his face), “I’ve had sex with more murderers than anybody in show-business.” By his own accounts, his on-and-off working relationship with The Stones continued right up until around late ‘69 by which point Manson was locked-up in jail awaiting trial in relation to those notorious murders. Kaufman‘s quoted as saying, “Charlie called me when he was arrested. He said, ‘please put out my music’… He was only allowed three phone-calls a day. He used to call me every day, five days a week. He was very anxious for his music to be heard.” An album of his music titled, ’LIE: The Love and Terror Cult’ was eventually released in 1970, apparently with the help of Phil who‘s said to have raised $3,000 to have 2,000 copies of the record pressed and distributed. Songs from it have since been covered by Guns N’ Roses and The Lemonheads.
In the years that followed the release of ‘LIE,’ Kaufman went on to make a name for himself as a respected road-manager for the likes of Emmylou Harris and Etta James. This career-path, he says, came about after a conversation he’d had with Keith Richards’ friend, Gram Parsons. “Gram phoned me and asked if I’d be his road-manager, and I asked him what a road-manager does. He said I’d be doing what I’d done for The Stones; basically looking after people, except I’d be doing it on the road. I accepted, and that was it; that was the start of our relationship.” And what a relationship it turned out to be! It resulted in one of the most notorious incidents in Rock-music history. It all stems back to a pact that Kaufman claims he and Parsons made in 1973 after attending the funeral of former Byrds member, Clarence White. He’s said, “it was kind of more Gram’s idea than mine. We were at the funeral… and it was this huge Catholic funeral. We both agreed that, if he’d had the choice, Clarence wouldn’t have chosen that kind of funeral, and we realised that we still did have a choice. So we made this pact, albeit after a few sherbets: ‘If I die first, I want you to take me out to the desert and burn my body! Is it a deal?’ ‘You got it! You do it for me, I’ll do it for you!’ And that was it. We shook hands on it and that was it, it was a deal. Then, unfortunately, Gram died a couple of months later, and I felt honour-bound to see the deal through.” This he accomplished, he claims, by driving to LAX Airport (Los Angeles), where Gram’s body was being taken en-route to New Orleans, and then, with an accomplice, somehow convincing staff there to buy into their “speel” that they’d come to collect it on the express wishes of the deceased’s family. Describing this scene during a recent interview, he said, “we’re sellin’ ‘em fried ice-cream, and he’s going for it.” A policeman close by, whose suspicion also wasn’t aroused, not only helped the drunken road-manager and his partner-in-crime take possession of the corpse, but even stood by, laughed and then walked away after he saw them crash into a hangar as they were driving off.
They eventually made their way to Joshua Tree where Kaufman poured five gallons of gasoline over the embalmed body and set it alight. And all this was achieved with the aid of a hearse which he borrowed from the woman that was said to have been with Parsons when he died, and who purchased the vehicle specifically because it was “comfortable” for camping trips. You couldn’t make this stuff up. Or could you? Of course you could. Question is, is that what’s happened here, and if so, why? Researchers have cast doubt and suspicion over the above chain of events, and the circumstances surrounding Gram’s death of a supposed “overdose” in a motel bedroom in Joshua Tree whilst on a short excursion. One particular claim is that the friends he’d been travelling with gathered-up his drugs after he’d died and before the police and ambulance arrived and then handed them over to Kaufman who hid them in the desert. He also, it’s alleged, provided Parson’s travelling companions with a hiding place, away from the cops who wanted to question them. Whilst there’s little doubt that the actual body-burning did take place, it’s been suggested it was some form of ritualistic cremation, given that it was said to have occurred on September 21st, the autumn equinox, which, ‘coincidentally,’ just so happened to fall just two days after Gram was pronounced dead. Incidentally – for the record – he died just seven weeks before his birthday, when he would’ve reached the age of 27.
From bottom left clockwise; Keith Richards, Gram Parsons, Phil Kaufman (driver’s seat), and Anita Pallenberg.
Although Gram never achieved worldwide fame and commercial success during his life, he was a respected figure among his peers, helping to popularise Country-music within the Rock genre. He did this first with the groups, the International Submarine Band, The Byrds, and The Flying Burrito Brothers and then as a solo-artist. In his 2010 memoirs, ‘Life,’ Keith Richards states, “when I fell in love with Gram Parsons in the summer of 1968, I struck a seam of music that I’m still developing, which widened the range of everything I was playing and writing. Early that year he’d joined The Byrds – ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ and all that – but they’d just recorded their classic ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ (album), and it was Gram who had totally turned them around from a Pop band into a Country-music band and expanded their whole being. That record, which bemused everybody at the time, turned out to be the incubator of Country Rock – a major influence. That Country influence came through in The Stones.” In the ‘YouTube‘ clip below, which is said to have been lifted from Keith Richards’ official website where it was originally posted in response to a fan’s question sometime in 2004, the Rolling Stone pays yet more tribute to Parsons, but also throws fuel to suspicions that his death might have been the result of foul-play. Whilst discussing the dead musician’s legacy and unfulfilled potential, he says, “Gram Parsons, who never actually had a hit record of his own, ever… has got one of the most solid and faithful followings of any artist that I can think of, especially given the fact that he never got to where he was gonna obviously going to go – if he’d only just kept his mouth shut. If he’d… just taken a little more care of himself – you know – it can happen all in one night. Gram was – it was just a sad and unnecessary accident in a way.” He then makes a reference to the title of Parsons’ posthumously-released solo-album, uttering the words, “Grievous. Grievous angel.” What? Is he telling us, albeit vaguely, that Parsons somehow fell foul of a person or persons who then killed him? Is it stretching the imagination too far to entertain the notion that Richards would be so candid as to reveal such a thing in public – assuming of course that’s what he’s implying? On the other hand, his comments could be nothing more than muddled observations about a man’s all-consuming, careless and ultimately fatal appetite for chucking drugs into his mouth?
Take a look and a listen for yourself…
The details surrounding Gram’s death do make for interesting reading and are worthy of further investigation. If you’re keen to find out more, take a look at the link below which documents some of the allegations and suspicious goings-on prior to and directly after he died. You also wouldn’t go far wrong checking out the new book, ‘Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon – Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream.’ Written by researcher, David McGowan, it lifts the lid on the dark-side of the 1960s counter-culture and includes a whole chapter on Parsons’ life, as well as the questions hanging over his death, and the “ritualistic” cremation of his body by Kaufman.
Whilst it would certainly be interesting to delve into Gram Parsons’ life, death and subsequent cremation in much greater depth during this three-part retrospective, it’s perhaps best to move on, after all, this article is already brimming with more information than you could shake a witch’s broomstick at. To include more is doing so at the danger of the readers’ patience perhaps? There has to be a limit, and given that there doesn’t appear to be anything of particular relevance that connects the Rolling Stones to Gram’s untimely passing, that limit is right here it seems. Anyway, it’s not as though there’s any shortage of other people connected to the band who require further attention, such as Kenneth Anger, who, after his footage of ’Lucifer Rising’ was allegedly stolen by Manson’s friend, Bobby Beausoloeil, was so incensed, that he decided to give up film-making. Well, that was until two Stones members and Marianne Faithfull stepped in. Speaking to ‘Interview’ magazine, he said, “I have quite a lot of friends, and Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Marianne Faithfull, and other friends of mine encouraged me to continue to make film. And they helped me out, they bought me some actual rolls of film as a present, to say, ‘here, make some more film.’” Anger resumed work on ‘Lucifer Rising’ and offered Jagger the lead role. The director has since recalled that the Rolling Stones front-man “said, ‘oh, yes.’ He was playing around at this time with – and part of it was my influence – a kind of Satanic image… Mick was going to be Lucifer, Keith was going to be Beezlebub, and Brian Jones was going to be Astraroth – these are all princes of Hell. He backed away because he was afraid of being too closely identified with the Devil.” However, his younger brother, Chris Jagger, did go on to star, as did Marianne Faithfull. She played Lilith, “a powerful female demon from the Babylonian times,“ so says Anger. Shot at a number of locations across the world including Stonehenge in England, and at Giza in Egypt, he states in a 2013 interview that the film is “about the Egyptian gods summoning the angel Lucifer in order to usher in a new occult age, in accordance with the principles of O.T.O. (‘Ordo Templi Orientis’)“ – (the OTO of course being the name of the occult order that Aleister Crowley was a member of). Furthermore, commenting on Marianne Faithfull’s behaviour during the making of the movie, the director recalls that she “says I hypnotised her and forced her to do things against her will. I didn’t. When I took her to Egypt, she was addicted to heroin and had the nerve to carry some in her makeup box under the face powder, so it just looked like just another form of powder. If she had been arrested or discovered, we all would have been shot – that was the penalty then.” In a 2010 interview, he even goes as far to suggest that “she was powdering her face with heroin” from that very makeup box. Marianne herself has admitted that she was “a hopeless junkie” whilst taking part in the filming of ‘Lucifer Rising’ but has also claimed that “Kenneth liked the idea I was in a weakened state.“ She recalls one particular day during the shoot when she was required to climb a mountain. “We were filming on the morning of the winter solstice,” she remembers. “The sun was coming up. There I was, Dope-sick, climbing the mountain. When I got to the top I remember seeing the sun shining through the aperature and hitting the rock, and then I blacked out completely… I think I lost consciousness for a second and when I came to I realised I was falling off the mountain. I came to as I was tumbling through the air and remembered in mid-fall that I had to do some somersaults and land on my feet. Which I did. They rushed me to hospital and did a million tests and I was fine… Kenneth would’ve liked me to fall off the mountain and die. It would have been a magnificent climax for his film. I never believed Kenneth had any power at all. I was willing to believe he was a great film-maker and I may have been wrong about that, too, because when I came to work with him it didn’t seem as if he knew what he was doing either. As inept as Kenneth was, I knew he was dangerous in a way and I knew that simply by being in the film I was involving myself in a magic act far more potent than Kenneth’s hocus-pocus Satanism. Smearing myself with ‘Max Factor’ blood and crawling around an Arab graveyard at 5 am as the sun rose over the pyramids was absolute insanity. To be that passive, to let someone like that make me perform a ritualistic act of such ghoulish proportions, was just mindless. I used to feel that a lot of the bad luck in my life came from that film. The reason I never tell this story is because it’s unbelievable… you don’t tell people these things. People think you’re raving.” In his book, ‘Up and Down with the Rolling Stones,’ Tony Sanchez claims he was “just a little afraid of Kenneth,” as were others close to and within the band. “Again and again,” he recalls, “inexplicable things involving him would happen.” The author notes two examples. One involves a party he attended back in the ’60s and which had been organised by Robert Fraser, the reputed London art-dealer. “Fraser arranged an opening-party for some white sculptures that John Lennon and Yoko Ono had created,” Sanchez states. “It was a zany party with all the guests dressed in white. We were even forced to drink a white mineral water. I saw Kenneth clearly at the party, but when I went across to talk to him, he seemed to have vanished. I thought little of it until that afternoon when Anita, Marianne, Keith and Mick all said that they too had seen Kenneth but had been unable to find him when they wanted to talk to him. ‘Anyway,’ said Anita, ‘it’s very strange because Kenneth told me he wouldn’t be able to come to the exhibition because he was going to be away on business in Germany.’ Kenneth didn’t return to London for two weeks, and by then numerous other people who had been at the party – John, Yoko, Robert – all remarked on having seen Kenneth across the crowded room, but having been unable to speak to him. Eventually we asked almost everyone who had been there if he or she had spoken to him – and none of them had. ‘Were you there?’ I asked him one day. And he only laughed.”
Saturn keeps returning… Kenneth Anger.
Sanchez continues, “on another occasion, Kenneth came with Robert, me and a couple of other friends for coffee at a little club called ‘The Costa Blanca’ off Tottenham Court Road (London). We drove there in my Alfa Romeo and walked together to the bar. Kenneth was standing right beside me. ‘Five coffees, please,’ I said, then turned around to find that Kenneth had vanished. ‘Where is he?’ I asked. And nobody knew. So I went out into the street to see if he was there, and though there wasn’t a corner for two hundred yards in each direction, he wasn’t there either. Even if he had sprinted down the road like Mercury, he couldn’t possibly have vanished so quickly. We didn’t see Kenneth again for another month.” Sanchez states in no uncertain terms that “what is indisputable is that Anger does appear to have certain powers.” A self-proclaimed “magician,” Anger himself is quoted as saying, “magick is…either you understand it and appreciate it, or it just passes you by. It isn’t something you turn on and off – either it’s there, or it’s not. It’s there for me because I’ve studied the subject all my life and I don’t need to impress anybody or show them tricks or anything.” He’s also known to have once stated that “making a movie is casting a spell.” With regards to one movie in particular, ‘Lucifer Rising,’ he’s reported to have said, “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 consecrated with blood and cum.” His friend and fellow Stones associate, Donald Cammell stars in the film as the Egyptian god, Osiris, and there’s also a brief appearance by Crowley fan, Jimmy Page. The Led Zeppelin guitarist was commissioned to write and play the soundtrack music too but was eventually sidelined and replaced with Anger’s old friend Bobby Beausoleil who composed and recorded his own version in prison. Thanks to the use of old footage shot prior to his earlier bust-up with the director, he also appears in the film, as well as in the short, ‘Invocation of My Demon Brother.’
Kenneth Anger: “That’s Bobby Beusoleil sucking on a skull. That’s a reefer posed in a skull which is a kind of exotic way of smoking.”
In ‘Invocation,’ images of Beausoleil merge into Anger’s footage of The Stones’ Hyde Park concert. He never fades out of view completely though. He’s there in the background as clips of Jagger, Faithfull, Richards, and Pallenberg appear briefly before us on the screen.
Given the benefit of hindsight, one can’t help but see something darkly poetic in the visual union of Manson’s murderer-in-waiting and members of this particularly notorious Rock-group…
The Hyde Park gig was The Stones’ first live concert appearance in over two years and it was followed by a one-month US tour beginning in November ‘69. The band’s return to the stage however, would be stained with blood, and their reputation as agents of Satan would be strengthened as a result, whether they liked it or not. Raymond ‘Ossie’ Clark, the renowned fashion designer lauded as a pivotal figure in 1960s /‘70s culture and credited with notching-up clients such as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Twiggy, and Elizabeth Taylor, has been quoted as saying, “one night I was at Mick’s house in London – I was designing the costumes for this 1969 tour. He’d put on a tape of the music that would be played on the tour and he’d dance around and say, ‘I’d like to do this and that,’ and we kind of evolved our costume ideas together. But for this trip, our costume-night was different. Mick danced around with great intensity and he was telling me in a stream of what seemed subconscious feelings, somewhat incoherent, what he wanted to convey. It was more than just describing costumes or anything like that, it was as if he had become Satan and was announcing his evil intentions. He was revelling in his role. Frightening, truly frightening… this was a side of Mick never revealed before. He was rejoicing in being Lucifer.”
Ossie Clark, 1969.
Clark is also said to have been disturbed by what he saw unfold before him at an actual concert from that Stones tour, reportedly saying, “we went out and took our seats, The Stones appeared, the first note was played and the whole place erupted like a tiger roaring, I almost blacked out. This was not the wave of adulation I was accustomed to hearing, no, this was like a mob being exhorted by a dictator. And then when Mick went into his Lucifer routine, the audience seemed to spit out its defiance. He introduced himself as ‘a man of wealth and taste’ who had been around a long time, had taken men’s souls, and achieved a catalogue of Satanic triumphs. I was trembling I was so frightened. And the more the audience’s reaction intensified, the more Mick baited them. I expected a riot, an explosion. I escaped before the concert ended, went back to the house, packed my bag, and immediately left for New York. Even when I got to New York I couldn’t shake off the scary, ominous feelings of that night. It stayed with me. For a week or more after that, I’d wake in the night with a heavy sweat.” According to a number of accounts, there were seriously strange vibes floating around the Altamont Free Festival in California, a music-event held on a raceway track and partly instigated and organised by the Rolling Stones. It culminated in the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old audience-member, Meredith Hunter whilst the band were performing in front of him in the early hours of a December morning in 1969. He’d got locked into an altercation with members of the Hells Angels, the notorious motorcycle club which, it’s said, was hired to take care of security, although this has been denied by some who were closely involved with the gig. The reputed photographer, Ethan Russell, who’s shot album-covers for The Beatles and The Who during his lengthy career, was with The Stones at Altamont. He wasn’t impressed with what he saw from the start. For him, the location of the venue “was a dull, lifeless landscape. There was no hint of green, not a tree, not a blade of grass. When we arrived there was no palpable feeling of joy or even happiness. It slowly dawned on me that this concert might not turn out to be what I expected. Mick Jagger had no such luck. His realisation came instantly.” Russell is referring to the moment when the Rock-star was punched in the face by a seemingly random person. Mick Taylor is reported to have said of the incident, “about five minutes after we arrived, just after we got out of the helicopter, I was with Mick and there were a couple of security guards with us, and a guy broke through and punched Mick in the face.” Ethan states that Stanley Booth, the music journalist, was also a witness to this, quoting him as saying, “’Mick got off the first helicopter with Ronnie (Schneider, Stones tour manager) when a kid comes running up to Mick and says: ‘I hate you,’ or something, and punches Mick right in the mouth.” Schneider, according to Russell, recalls, “I remember Mick screaming: ‘Don’t hurt him, don’t hurt him!’ Me, I wanted to kill the guy right away. That set the tone.” One of those who performed at the festival, which commenced on December 6th, was Carlos Santana. He’s reported as saying, “there was bad vibes from the beginning. The vibrations were really strange.” Fellow Altamont performer, Grace Slick, who was a singer with the Jefferson Airplane at the time, is also said to have picked up on the “strange” vibrations that day recalling that “the vibes were bad. Something was very peculiar, not particularly bad, just real peculiar. I had expected the loving vibes of Woodstock but that wasn’t coming at me. This was a whole different thing.” The magazine, ‘Rolling Stone,’ in a special Altamont issue published shortly after the event, reported that “a chick toward the front of the stage” on the opening-day of the festival “was telling her old man: ‘It’s weird. They consulted the astrologers before setting the dates for Woodstock, but they couldn’t have consulted an astrologer about today. Anyone can see that with the moon in Scorpio, today’s an awful day to do this concert. There’s a strong possibility of violence and chaos and any astrologer could have told them so. Oh well, maybe The Stones know something I don’t know.’” Yes… maybe they did know something… but what, exactly?
The Stones took to the stage the following morning at around 4 am. Mick Taylor is quoted as describing the scene before him as “completely barbaric, like there was so much violence there it completely took the enjoyment out of it for me . . . it was impossible . . . to enjoy the music, or anything, because most of the violence was going on right in front of the stage, right in front of our eyes, and like I’ve never seen anything like it before. I just couldn’t believe it. The Hells Angels had a lot to do with it. The people that were working with us getting the concert together thought it would be a good idea to have them as a security force. But I got the impression that because they were a security force they were using it as an excuse. They’re just very, very violent people.” The Angels helped the band make their entrance onto the stage by creating a path for them in the audience with their bikes. In the Stones-sanctioned documentary, ’Gimme Shelter,’ drummer, Charlie Watts can be seen sharing his recollection of this – and, it must be noted, with some evident signs of fondness and awe. “I mean, the way they cleared the path, for instance was incredible, man,” he says smiling. “My goodness. That was insane.”
The Angels making a pathway.
The Stones’ performance at Altamont, and the horrors which unfolded before them as they played, are featured in the documentary, ’Gimme Shelter’ which picks up on their set some two songs in when they launch into ‘Sympathy for the Devil,’ but not before Jagger addresses the crowd in a soft, almost effeminate manner, asking them to “just be cool down the front there and don’t push around. Just keep still, keep together.” His delicate, calls for calm fall on deaf ears however. He stops singing midway through the first verse when a scuffle or altercation of some kind appears to be taking place just yards from him down below in amongst the audience which retreats ands forms a space between itself and the violence apparently taking place in front of it. Hells Angels, who’ve made their way to the front of the stage, jump off into the large empty void and push back the crowd even further. The Stones stop playing, and once again, Jagger makes an appeal. “Hey. Hey people. Sisters. Brothers and sisters. Brothers and sisters. Come on now. That means everybody, just cool out! Will you cool out everybody? Everybody be cool now, come on. Alright?” Then, he adds, “we always having something very funny happens when we start that number.” How interesting. Does this mean that ‘Sympathy for the Devil,’ when performed live, possesses some form of power over people ultimately driving them to violence and/or disorderliness? In essence, that’s what Jagger appears to be suggesting. Does he not? This prompts another question; Given that the atmosphere at Altamont on that December morning back in 1969 was – to put it mildly – highly volatile, why did the band, in-between its appeals for peace, launch back into the song from the beginning again once the crowd had calmed down and made its way back to the front of the stage? Not a sensible move if you’re keen to avoid any flare-up in tension, surely? After all, if, as Jagger himself acknowledges, “something very funny happens when we start that number,” maybe it’d be good to ditch the intro and pick up mid-verse from where they’d left off? Or better still, drop the number entirely and move on? Just think; Was there really any need to play that song, especially when there was a risk it could add fuel to a potential riot? Was it necessary?… Was it? If it was, then for what purpose? Whatever their reasons, back into ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ they went. However, as can be seen in the documentary, it isn’t long before there’s signs of trouble again. A dancing, shaking, singing Jagger stops abruptly and stands-still halfway through his performance and looks out over the crowd as the band play on behind him. It’s not clear what’s caught his attention exactly, but it wouldn’t stretch the imagination to assume that there’s some form of scuffle taking place. An audience-member situated at the front of the stage also appears to be checking it out. He then looks up at the Stones front-man, shakes his head disapprovingly and says something to him.
LOOK OF DISAPPROVAL?… Crowd-member stares up at Jagger.
Due to the sheer volume of the music, it’s not clear what the guy in the audience has said to Jagger, although he seems to be exclaiming the word, “why?” The documentary-footage doesn’t give any clues as to the singer’s reaction. Within seconds, though, he’s shaking and clapping to the rhythms of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ again whilst the crowd-member looks on and shouts something at him….
… No matter, Jagger works the stage dressed from neck to waist in what some might perceive to be ‘Satanic colours’; a black and red shirt, said to have been designed specially by Ossie Clark.
According to high-ranking Freemason and author, Leon Zeldis, the colour red “is traditionally associated with war and the military. The colour of blood is naturally connected with the idea of sacrifice. In Hebrew, it is the colour of youth. It also has a darker side, connected with the flames of hell, the appearance of demons, the apoplectic of rage. Traditionally, black is the colour of darkness, death, the underworld… The ‘black humour’ of melancholy (atara hills) the black crow of ill omen, the black mass: all refer to negative aspects.” Black is also associated with… wait for it… Saturn. The German 16th century occultist and writer, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, states in his work, ’Philosophy of Natural Magic,’ that “all colours as black, lucid, earthy, leaden, or brown, have relation to Saturn.” For a deeper analysis, let’s look inside the 1967 book, ‘The Black Arts: A Concise History of Witchcraft, Demonology, Astrology, and Other Mystical Practises Throughout the Ages.’ It’s written by the British historian, Richard Cavendish, an author who’s well known for his knowledge of subjects to do with the occult. He writes, “most of us do not associate the colour green, copper, the number 7, the dove, the sparrow, and the swan together in our minds, but in magical theory these things are linked because they all connected with the force of Venus, the universal current of love. These connections are part of what is called a ‘system of correspondences.’ From the earliest times men tried to understand the way in which the world is constructed by classifying all the features of the universe in terms of the gods who controlled them. Magicians have followed suit, substituting the great driving forces of the universe for the gods. Everything is classified in terms of the force with which it is connected. The system is extremely detailed, but the oldest and most important part of it is the set of links between planets, metals and colours.” For example, the darkest and heaviest of the metals, lead “was naturally assigned to Saturn, the dimmest and slowest-moving planet, which trudges heavily through its slow path round the sun. In the old cosmology Saturn is the farthest planet from the sun, the ruler of life, and is the lord of death. The analogy between death and night was drawn very early. Black is the colour of night and the colour invariably associated with death in western countries.” The colour red “is connected with Mars through several chains of association” including the fact that “the planet has a reddish look… Red is the colour of blood and Mars was the god of bloodshed and war. The war-chiefs of Rome in early times painted themselves bright red with vermillion and the same custom has been found among other primitive peoples. Red is the colour of energy and vitality and in astrology, Mars rules all forms of violent energy and activity. The word for red in most languages is based on the fact that red is the colour of blood. Our ’red,’ Greek ’eruthros’ and Latin ’ruber’ and ’rufus’ are all akin to Sanskrit ’rudhira,’ ’blood.’ The number 5 also corresponds to Mars and the magician lights five candles and has pentagrams drawn or embroidered on his robe. These things arouse and control the force of Mars because they are connected with it in the universe.”
In the documentary, Jagger struts, spins, gyrates and shakes as ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ plays on. His face, blanketed in lights coloured red, writhes with expressions of pleasure, of joy, of ecstasy – almost like a man immersed in devilish bliss perhaps?…
“In a ceremony of hatred and destruction, the magician uses things which are red or made of iron. He drapes the room in which he is working in crimson hangings. He wears a scarlet robe.” – Richard Cavendish.
In fairness to Jagger (a performer famed for working the stage to its fullest), the above facial expressions might possibly be the signs of a consummate entertainer making the best of a bad situation, dancing on regardless of the tense vibes in a bid to convince his audience to do likewise, to lighten the mood, to enjoy the music, to stop fighting. In fact, in the documentary footage, you can hear the Stones front-man rapping the words, “everybody gotta cool down” above the beats of ’Sympathy.’ Mick Taylor has since reportedly said, “Mick did his best to cool the people out. He was doing everything in his power to cool them out.” You can judge Jagger’s behaviour and his possible intentions for yourself by checking out the footage of the performance in the video-clip further on down this page.
‘BAD VIBES’… The documentary-cameras focus on a tear-stained member of the audience at the front of the stage.
The documentary hones in on a limp, motionless body being passed down the audience to the front of the stage as the closing-bars of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ reach their end. Jagger shouts, “people… who’s fighting and what for? Why are we fighting!? Why are we fighting!? We don’t want to fight! Come on.” Keith Richards then steps forward, pointing his finger into the audience. He calls out, “look! Cat! That guy there, if he doesn’t stop it, man. Listen, either those cats cool it, man, or we don’t play,” The film doesn’t show us who he’s addressing. An unidentified voice from the stage then bellows out, “we need doctors down here now, please… Can we have a doctor down here now to the front?” Jagger takes the mic and says, “I cannot see what’s going on, I just know that every time we get to a number, something happens. I don’t know what’s going on – who’s doing what. It’s just a scuffle. I can’t do any more than just ask you… beg you, just keep it together. You can do it, it’s within your power, everyone. Everyone, Hells Angels, everybody. Let’s just keep ourselves together.” He then shouts, “you know, if we are all one, let’s show we’re all one!” A few seconds later, the opening-beats of the number, ‘Under My Thumb’ begin. Jagger calmly asks the crowd to “sit down just keep cool and let’s just relax, let’s just get into a groove, come on, we can get it together. Sit down.” As the song ends though, we see a wide, empty space forming in the audience again. There’s trouble, and there’s Meredith Hunter at the edge of the rapidly receding crowd, recognisable by his bright green jacket and trousers. A Hells Angel comes lunging at him, making stabbing-like motions into the 18-year-old before pushing him out of shot into the darkness. Below, some screenshots of this moment (click to enlarge)…
In the next screen-cap (below), you can almost make out what looks to be a knife in the Hells Angel’s hand as he advances into Hunter…
Bill Wyman was recently quoted as saying, “’Mick Taylor and I were the ones nearest to it. We saw the crowd open up and the guy chase the other guy right in front of us. We both saw the commotion when the guy got stabbed. We saw the whole thing, and my heart skipped a beat.” In the documentary, we see people tending to a stretcher. There’s a bloodstained sleeve hanging out from underneath a blanket that‘s been strapped into it, and it’s the same shade of green as worn by Meredith Hunter. We can’t see him. The face has been covered. We can also hear a voice say, “we pronounced him dead at six o’clock.“
The documentary ends shortly after although, in reality, the Stones’ performance carried on for a good while longer. Mick Taylor has reportedly said, “I think at one point we might have walked off stage, but that would have been a disaster. We just had to carry on and play the best we could. We played longer than we would have done because we had to keep stopping all the time. We still did a complete show. We must have been on stage for about an hour-and-a-half. It seemed like ages.” In his memoirs, ‘Life,’ Keith Richards claims, “when it happened, nobody knew he’d been stabbed to death. The show went on. We all piled into this overloaded chopper. Thank God we got out of there, because it was hairy. Nobody knew what had happened until we’d gotten back to the hotel later or even the next morning.”
As noted in the first instalment of this three-part retrospective, The Stones were no strangers when it came to playing in front of riotous, destructive crowds. Jerry Garcia, a founder-member of The Grateful Dead, one of the bands scheduled to appear on the Altamont bill, picked up on this during a 1971 interview when he was asked to offer his perspective on the event. “Well, see, the Rolling Stones never did have a cool audience,” he began. “When they started playing, people were screaming. Then they knocked off for two or three years and now they come back, and it’s back to screaming. It was a trick. You know, Mick Jagger would make his little speech about ‘turn on the lights so we can see you,’ and the lights would go on, and everybody would scream and run up to the stage. It was so predictable. They knew it would work… that’s the thing that’s going for it. It’s like the magicians, like Cagliostro, man, you know what I mean? One of those trips. If you get to the point where you’re playing music and you can’t get off unless the crowd tears itself to pieces and attacks the stage, it’s kind of like sinking your teeth way in. It’s taking more than you need. I don’t know if it’s a question of wanting to be stars, but they definitely want to have that excitement goin’ on, they want to have that hysteria. For what reason, who knows?” For what reason indeed. In his book, ‘Up and Down with the Rolling Stones,’ Tony Sanchez provides a possible answer. He quotes from a letter which is said to have been sent to ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine shortly after the gig. It reads:
To those who know, it’s been obvious that The Stones, or at least some of them, have been involved in the practise of magick ever since the ‘Satanic Majesties Request’ album. But there at least the colour was more white than black. Since then the hue had gone steadily darker and darker. At Altamont, He appeared in his full majesty with his full consort of demons, the Hells Angels. It was just a few days before the winter solstice when the forces of darkness are at their most powerful. The moon was in Scorpio, which is the time of the month when the universal vibration is at its most unstable. It was held in a place dedicated to destruction through motion. Then Mick comes on only after it is dark enough for the red lights to work their magick. I don’t know if they were truly aware of what they were doing or not. I feel they are sadder and wiser from the experience. But an agonising price was paid for the lesson.
Marianne Faithfull has stated that “by then, Mick and Keith felt themselves immortal and untouchable, as if they couldn’t put a foot wrong. They hadn’t thought about the consequences of what they were putting out, the random acts of madness. They had no idea of the demonic forces that were gathering. They made jokes about this stuff, because in England, The Apocalypse is a Biblical concept. In the States, given the mix of fantasy and real-life – especially in the hippie culture – it seemed a definite possibility. The Stones took none of this seriously. Anita and I, being women, were a bit less cynical about these things.”
The Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’ documentary, directed by the world-famous Maysles brothers, was released in 1970. It features moments from their US live tour of ‘69 although much of the attention is centred on their Altamont appearance and the trouble that ensues right in front of them as they play including, of course, the slaying of Meredith Hunter. His sister, Dixie Ward, is said to have never watched it, which is entirely understandable of course. She’s quoted as saying, “I never wanted to see him running for his life, to know what happened when he took his last breath. You have to understand, I raised him as my child, practically.” However, according to a ‘Rolling Stone’ article published a few months before the release of the film, it was “the remarkable footage of Hunter’s killing“ that actually made it “the hottest film property of 1970” amongst movie-studio bosses. The less enthused meanwhile, such as author, David McGowan, have branded it a “mainstream snuff film.” He’s also drawn attention to reports published in ‘Rolling Stone’ shortly after the tragedy and “based on the accounts of several reporters on the scene,” including one that clearly states the stabbing of Meredith Hunter occurred during the band’s performance of ‘Sympathy for the Devil.’ Indeed, in an online version of an old issue of the magazine dating back to January 1970 and available on its website, there is such an account. This version of events is also based, McGowan writes in his ‘Laurel Canyon‘ book, on “a review of the unedited film-stock.” He adds, “most accounts claim that Hunter was killed while the band performed ‘Under My Thumb.’ All such claims are based on ‘Gimme Shelter,’ in which the killing was deliberately presented out of sequence.” If you’ve watched the documentary, then you might indeed have witnessed possible signs of this yourself. It is crudely-edited in places and there are moments when the visuals and the audio do appear to be out of sync. McGowan continues, “in the absence of any alternative filmic versions of Hunter’s death, the Maysles brothers’ film became the default official orthodoxy. Of course, someone went to great lengths to insure that there would be only one available version of events; as ‘Rolling Stone’ reported, shortly after the concert: ‘One weird Altamont story has to do with a young Berkeley film-maker who claims to have gotten 8MM footage of the killing. He got home from the affair Saturday and began telling friends about his amazing film. His house was knocked over the next night, completely rifled. The thief took only his film, nothing else.’” ‘Conspiro Media’ has managed to ascertain that this quote most likely dates back to an article in the February 7th 1970 issue of ‘Rolling Stone.’
An earlier edition of the magazine from January 1970, and largely dedicated to the Altamont tragedy, ran under the headline, ’Let It Bleed,’ presumably in fittingly-spooky reference to the Rolling Stones’ album of the same name which just so happened to have been released a day before the event on December 5th 1969.
On this album, the follow-up to ‘Beggar’s Banquet,’ there’s the track, ‘Midnight Rambler.’ Keith claims his inspiration for it came from “one of those phrases taken out of sensationalist headlines that only exist for a day. You just happen to be looking at a newspaper, ‘Midnight Rambler on the loose again.’ Oh, I’ll have him.” More specifically, it’s said to be about the ‘Boston Strangler,’ a name attributed to a serial killer connected to the deaths of thirteen women between 1962 and 1964. All the victims with the exception of two, were asphyxiated. One was stabbed to death. Most of them were sexually assaulted. In the 1975 book, ‘Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape,’ TV/print journalist and activist, Susan Brownmiller states that this notorious figure has “been memorialised by Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones” in ’Midnight Rambler’ “one of their most theatrical numbers.“ When performed on stage, she writes, “Mick’s scarves, his own personal trademark, become the strangler’s garrotte.” To illustrate her point, she quotes directly from a Press-review of a Stones gig which describes not only what takes place on stage when the song is played, but the reaction of the audience too:
Keith Richards sways through a long, threateningly erotic guitar introduction as Mick slowly removes a bright gold sash. On the first line, ’you’ve heard about the Boston Strangler,’ the lights suddenly dim and Jagger is outlined in a deep red floodlight. He slinks around the stage, a slim-hipped, multi-sexual reincarnation of Jack the Ripper. Grasping the sash like a whip he brings it down with a crack… “Me, me,” they shout. “Hit me, Mick.”
In the song, Jagger exclaims, “I’m called the hit-and-run raper in anger. The knife-sharpened tippie-toe. Or just the shoot ‘em dead, brain bell jangler. You know, the one you never seen before.” Brownmiller describes ’Midnight Rambler’ as “Jagger’s orgasmic, heightened reaction on stage of the rape/murder of 23-year-old Beverly Samans, the most viciously mutilated of the Strangler’s victims.” The author points to similarities between the lyrics of the song and the young woman’s killing as described in the 1968 book, ‘The Boston Strangler.’
The ‘Let It Bleed’ album.
Authored by Gerold Frank, it quotes the recollections of Alfred DeSalvo, the man who, in 1967, confessed to the serial-slayings and who’s reported as saying that he “was going to have intercourse” with Beverly “and she began talking: ‘You promised, you said you wouldn’t do it to me, don’t, don’t, I’ll get pregnant.’ The words kept coming and coming… I can still hear her saying: ‘Don’t do it – don’t do that to me.’” Halfway into the studio-version of ‘Midnight Rambler,’ Jagger can be heard repeatedly riffing the words, “don’t you do that, don’t do that.” This is carried over into the live renditions (one of which you can watch below from a concert in Texas in 1972). Another similarity comes at the end of the number when the Stones front-man shouts the words, “I’ll stick my knife right down your throat, baby. And it hurts!” Of all the Strangler’s victims, Beverly Samans was one of the two not to have been asphyxiated. She was however stabbed four times in the neck. ‘Midnight Rambler’ has also come in for criticism from Professor Jane Caputi, a specialist in the study of popular culture, environmental feminism, and gender and violence. In her 1987 book, ‘The Age of Sex Crime,’ she reflects on Brownmiller’s observations of The Stones’ live performance of the song and opines, “such a song and such a Rock concert are quite literally a re-creation, for this is definitive ritual, the dramatisation of the paradigmatic event with the performer assuming the persona or mask of the hero. Jagger is sacralising, glorifying the event and the killer. The ritual of the song and performance invite millions of male listeners over the years to identify with the Strangler/Ripper via their hero, Mick Jagger, and millions of women to identify with the silenced victim. Moreover, the message that surfaces here is one that is usually only communicated subliminally, i.e. the sexual criminal, not only the rapist, but also the mutilation murderer, functions as a hero to his culture.”
Did you hear about the midnight rambler
Everybody got to go
Did you hear about the midnight rambler
The one that shut the kitchen door
He don’t give a hoot of warning
Wrapped up in a black cat cloak
He don’t go in the light of the morning
He split the time the cock’rel crows
Talkin’ about the midnight gambler
The one you never seen before
Talkin’ about the midnight gambler
Did you see him jump the garden wall
Sighin’ down the wind so sad
Listen and you’ll hear him moan
Talkin’ about the midnight gambler
Everybody got to go
Did you hear about the midnight rambler
Well, honey, it’s no rock ‘n’ roll show
Well, I’m talkin’ about the midnight gambler
Yeah, the one you never seen before
Well you heard about the Boston…
It’s not one of those
Well, talkin’ ’bout the midnight…sh…
The one that closed the bedroom door
I’m called the hit-and-run raper in anger
The knife-sharpened tippie-toe…
Or just the shoot ’em dead, brainbell jangler
You know, the one you never seen before
So if you ever meet the midnight rambler
Coming down your marble hall
Well he’s pouncing like proud black panther
Well, you can say I, I told you so
Well, don’t you listen for the midnight rambler
Play it easy, as you go
I’m gonna smash down all your plate glass windows
Put a fist, put a fist through your steel-plated door
Did you hear about the midnight rambler
He’ll leave his footprints up and down your hall
And did you hear about the midnight gambler
And did you see me make my midnight call
And if you ever catch the midnight rambler
I’ll steal your mistress from under your nose
I’ll go easy with your cold fanged anger
I’ll stick my knife right down your throat, baby
And it hurts!
As noted earlier in this article, Marianne Faithfull has often claimed that both Jagger and Richards approached matters concerning the occult with a rather cavalier and somewhat lightweight attitude. In her memoirs she states (cheekily), “the most indelible misconception to come out of ‘Let It Bleed’ was the silly notion of Mick as the disciple of Satan. A devotee of satin perhaps!” She also recalls that both of them thought Kenneth Anger “laughable. Mick and Keith were utterly contemptuous of his Satanic hocus-pocus. They thought it was idiotic.” Really? Then why did Jagger collaborate with him on one of his movies, and where did the inspiration come for the ’Devil’ tattoo that the singer shamelessly wore on his chest on ’Rock and Roll Circus’? It’s also worth pointing out that the director reportedly lived with Richards at his Redlands home for a time, so maybe the Stones guitarist didn’t view him with too much contempt either? Perhaps Marianne’s observations are based on a couple of incidents that are said to have occurred and which, if true, appear to have marked an end in some shape or form to Anger’s relationship with both men? For example, recollecting one event in particular that she claims took place at the London home she shared with Jagger at the time, she recalls, “Kenneth was obsessed with The Stones. He clearly had a crush on Mick and for a while Mick indulged him. He was entertaining and appropriately creepy, but when his protestations went unanswered and he took to hurling copies of William Blake through the windows… Mick took all our magic books and made a great pyre of them in the fireplace.” The incident involving Richards was a tad more dramatic although the setting is similar given that it is said to have taken place within the walls of another Stones-pad; the infamous Redlands. Sometime during late ‘69, and not long after the Altamont tragedy, Anger suggested that Keith should wed Anita in a pagan ceremony. So the story goes, Pallenberg was being threatened with deportation from the UK due to her dual Italian/German nationality status. In a bid to remain in the country, she and Richards considered marrying. In itself, the two of them getting hitched wasn’t such a far-fetched idea – after all – the pair were already an item with a four-month-old son, their relationship having begun in 1967 following Anita’s split with Brian Jones in the wake of a particularly unpleasant trip to Morocco (check out Part One of this article for more on this). Tony Sanchez claims he was present at Redlands when Anger was discussing the pagan wedding idea with the couple. Anita, he recalls, was enthused by the prospect. The director told them that there were “certain formalities” that had to be carried out if they were intending to go ahead such as painting the door of the house where the ceremony’s to be held in gold “with a magical paint containing special herbs which represents the sun.” Anger, following their discussion, eventually went home and Richards and Pallenberg retired to their bedroom. Sanchez, who claims he was staying at Redlands at the time, states in his book, ’Up and Down with the Rolling Stones,’ that he “checked to ensure that the big, heavy three-inch thick mahogany door was firmly locked” before turning in himself. He continues, “the next morning I was awakened by Anita yelling hysterically to Keith from the hallway. I pulled on my dressing-gown and ran downstairs to see what the commotion was about. ’Look, Tony, look,’ she screamed, pointing to the door. I was astonished to discover that it had been fastidiously painted inside and out in gold. The paintwork was completely dry and was so immaculate that it was obvious that the craftsmen who had carried out the job had removed the huge door from its hinges first. ’It must have been Kenneth, but I can’t work out how he did it,’ said Keith. ’The security people put the strongest lock you can buy on that door, and there’s no way anyone could have got hold of a spare key.’” Not only that, the Rolling Stone went on, but how did he manage to take the door off its hinges in the middle of the night without being heard and then carry out such a flawless job in the dark? Anita’s response to this was to suggest Kenneth must’ve summoned up one of his magic powers to help him. Sanchez recalls, “we all looked at one another, and I saw fear in Keith’s and Anita’s eyes. ’I don’t want to go through with any black magic wedding,’ said Keith. ’This thing’s gone far enough.’” Tony claims that “Keith began to shy away from magic then, although publicly both he and Jagger had discovered that Satanism sold records, so they continued to foster a demonic image for themselves.” Indeed, The Stones certainly did continue to display signs of the “demonic” in the years that followed. But should we accept what Sanchez alleges, that this was nothing more sinister than a cynical exercise designed to sell more records? That’s debateable, isn‘t it? Perhaps it’s best not to answer that just yet seeing as ‘Conspiro Media’ has more to delve into both here and in the third and final instalment of this retrospective. However, this is as good a place as any to remind ourselves of a question posed nearer the beginning of this article regarding the band’s associations with aspects of the occult and in particular the ’Satanic’ – that being; what was their intent? Again – suspend any conclusions you might’ve reached until you’ve read Part Three, but do take the time (if you’re interested) to mull over what’s been revealed thus far.
Now, if we’re to believe Sanchez, it would appear that certain members of the group had possibly strayed too far towards and into the darker side for their own comfort, i.e. Richards’ alleged decision to “shy away from magic” following his experience at Redlands with Kenneth Anger, although – again – as we’ll see in the third and final instalment, there’s information to suggest that he remained dangerously close to magic(k)al influences for a number of years to come whether he liked it or not. In an interview for ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine in August 1971 he said, “Kenneth Anger told me I was his right-hand man. It’s just what you feel. Whether you’ve gotten that good and evil thing together. Left-hand path, right-hand path, how far do you want to go down? Once you start, there’s no going back. Where they lead to is another thing. It’s something everybody ought to explore. There are possibilities there. Before, when we were just innocent kids out for a good time, they’re saying, ‘they’re evil, they’re evil.’ Oh I’m evil, really? So that makes you start thinking about evil. What is evil? Half of it, I don’t know how much people think of Mick as the Devil or as just a good Rock performer or what? There are black magicians who think we are acting as unknown agents of Lucifer and others who think we are Lucifer. Everybody’s Lucifer.”
During the same interview, Richards also discussed the then recently released follow-up to ‘Let It Bleed.’ Titled ‘Sticky Fingers,’ it’s the first Stones album to feature the now iconic ‘tongue and lips’ logo.
The generally-held view is that this is an artist’s representation of Jagger’s famously-structured mouth – nothing more, nothing less. However, Keith told ‘Rolling Stone,’ “that’s Kali, the Hindu female goddess. Five arms, a row of heads around her, a sabre in one hand, flames coming out the other, she stands there, with her tongue out.” Rachel Fell McDermott, professor and Chair of the Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures Department at Barnard College, Columbia University points out in her 2001 book, ‘Singing to the Goddess: Poems to Kali and Uma from Bengal: Poems to Kali’ that “Kali or Kalika as a name derives from ‘kala,’ which means ‘black,’ ‘time,’ and ‘death’; as such, she is the Mistress of Time or Death, the one who devours.” In ’Encountering Kali: In the Margins, At the Centre, In the West,’ published in 2003, Rachel and fellow professor, Jeffrey J. Kripal a former Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University, Texas, state that Kali “is a deity with a long, multi-layered history. Although worshipped throughout South Asia, she has traditionally been most popular in geographically peripheral areas of the sub-continent, such as Bengal, Assam, and Nepal in the northeast, Kashmir, Panjab, and Himachal Pradesh in the northwest, and Kerala, Tamilnadu, and Sri Lanka in the south. While individual myths, rituals, and iconographic traditions may differ somewhat in each of these areas, Kali is commonly perceived as a goddess who encompasses and transcends the opportunities of life. She is, for example, simultaneously understood as a bloodthirsty demon-slayer, and inflictor and curer of diseases, a deity of ritual possession, and an all-loving, compassionate Mother. That Kali often delights in shocking her viewers into new modes of awareness and emotional intensity is obvious to anyone who has witnessed her Bengali iconographic representations, which often present her wearing foetuses for earrings, decapitating men, sticking out her tongue for all to see, wearing a garland of chopped-off heads and a mini-skirt of human arms, and living in cremation grounds.”
McDermott and Kripal continue, “to make matters ever more complex, despite all of this, her devotees still insist upon affectionately addressing her as ‘Ma,’ or ‘Mother.’As far as can be reconstructed from literary and iconographic sources, Kali’s present complexity of character developed slowly during the course of at least two thousand years. Interpretations of Kali have evolved significantly over time.”
More recently, an interpretation of the goddess has been identified in the behaviour of ‘Illuminati’ Popstress, Miley Cyrus. Much, if not all the credit for this observation must go to well known researcher, broadcaster and lecturer of matters linked to the conspiratorial and occult, Freeman, who, after having watching the singer’s controversial twerking performance on MTV’s Video Music Awards last year in which she walked out of a giant teddy(-paedo) bear whilst sticking out her tongue repeatedly, was left in little doubt that she was invoking Kali.
Miley performing at 2013’s MTV Video Music Awards.
Freeman says, “when I saw Miley Cyrus coming down out of that teddy-bear on the VMAs on MTV’s music-awards, it was clear to me what the amount of tongue-gesturing that she was doing, that she was to invoke Kali… When I saw her coming out of that teddy-bear, and I saw her stroking invisible hair, that was when I realised she was invoking Kali, because Kali is depicted with this long hair and has skulls and peoples’ heads around her neck. And really Kali is a symbol of the End of Time, or the Time of Death. And so, basically, this high-profile gesture of ‘the elite’ to put Miley on stage as Kali is a death knell. It’s a symbol of the end of time.”
CYRUS / KALI / STONES(?)… Miley’s tongue-pose has become something of a signature look for her in recent times. In the bottom-right photo however, she appears to be adopting The Stones’ trademark.
The Rolling Stones’ logo is said to have been designed by John Pasche an artist who’s credited with creating artwork for a number of music-acts including David Bowie, The Who, and Sinead O‘Connor. He recalls, “in 1969, Mick Jagger’s office rang the Royal College of Art in London and asked if there was a suitable design student to come up with designs for their 1970 European Tour poster. I was recommended and on 29th April 1970, Jo Bergman, who was running the Stones’ office at the time, wrote to me to confirm that they had commissioned me to design a poster for their forthcoming tour. At this time, I was in my final year of a graduate design course. I was very honoured when Mick Jagger turned up at the college to see my final degree show as the artwork that would ultimately be used for the poster was on display in one of the exhibits. A short time later, I met with Mick again, who then asked me to design a logo or symbol for the Rolling Stones’ new record-label.” In a 2014 video-interview hosted by none other than current Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood (more about him in Part Three) and available on the musician’s ‘YouTube‘ page, Pasche claims that Jagger, during their meeting to discuss the new logo, “fished out a picture of Kali the Indian goddess and said, ‘I really like this, what do you think?’ Immediately when I saw it my eyes went straight to the tongue, the pointed tongue sticking out of the mouth. Although I didn’t think that the Indian whole theme was necessarily the right thing because I thought it was something that’d be transient and maybe go out of date, there was something about the mouth… I suppose the inspiration really for it was to create something that was anti-authority really, I mean, The Stones were the sort of bad boys of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and somebody sticking their tongue out seemed to be the right gesture. And that was the initial concept.”
It should be pointed out at this juncture that an artist by the name of Ernie Cefalu has declared that the ‘tongue and lips’ idea actually originates from him. In a career spanning five decades, he’s credited with the creation of album-covers for the likes of Black Sabbath, Jefferson Airplane, Aerosmith, The Bee Gees, and Earth, Wind & Fire (to name just a few). Back in February 1971, just two months before the release of ‘Sticky Fingers,’ he claims he turned up for a job interview at the New York office of art-director, Craig Braun bringing along with him a selection of designs he’d been responsible for, including an album titled ‘Dolls Alive’ which featured a pair of lips, but without a tongue showing. Cefalu remembers that, “I couldn’t help notice Craig holding the ‘Dolls Alive’ album between the palms of his hands while he gazed at it as if deep in thought. After staring at it for at least a full minute, he said, ‘we’ve been working on developing a logo for the Rolling Stones, and haven’t hit on it yet… until now!’ He looked at me and asked, ‘can you take the lips that you did on this, add a tongue outside and over the bottom lip and finish it in less than an hour?’ I said that I could.” And he did, so he claims. That very same day, Braun met with Marshall Chess the-then President of the Stones’ new record-label to show him the logo, which he liked and gave the go-ahead to. Cefalu recalls, “as it turned out, Craig had given the logo I did to Marshall and The Stones for free. In return, he got the exclusive merchandising rights of the logo for one year… The next two weeks were like a blur to me. By the middle of February, I had created the finished line-art for the stamp-style lettering and the tongue logo for the Rolling Stones ‘Sticky Fingers’ album-cover and had made a big head start on all initial looks for the merchandising pieces. Over the next few months, I did a couple of other small jobs, but 98% of my focus was on Rolling Stone merchandising: shirts, sweat-shirts, scarves, hats, foil dye cut posters, belt-buckles, embroidered patches, key-chains, roach-clips and lots of other stuff… For the record, I really didn’t know that there was going to be a ‘lips and tongue’ logo on the final album-sleeve… As for why they had a second version done for the final album-art, it is a mystery to me. The logo that I did the finish on and that was used on all the merchandising was done by me well before the end of February of 1971. The logo that John Pasche did that was used on the ‘Sticky Fingers’ album sleeve and back-cover – when you look at the two logos side by side, you will clearly see that they are really different”…
Cefalu’s design on the right-hand side.
As far as Marshall Chess is concerned, in a 2010 interview he said, “I hired many different artists to draw many different versions” of the logo. “We had tongues waving, tongues sticking up, different shaped lips, and a tongue with a pill on it. And then I remember buying it. We bought it out right from John Pasche.” The front-sleeve of the album, which shows a close-up of a jeans-clad male crotch with a visible outline of a penis, was – according to the liner-notes from the CD version of the record – conceived by Andy Warhol. The design-work and graphics are credited to ‘Craigbrauninc.’ An interesting side-note here; Cefalu states that he was the man responsible for the idea of including a real working zipper on the cover of the original vinyl releases that, when opened, revealed underpants.
An original vinyl-copy album-cover of ‘Sticky Fingers’ complete with movable zipper. (CLICK TO ENLARGE – If you’ll pardon the pun!).
However, Cefalu’s reportedly said that a number of other options were considered, including a particularly morbid one inspired by the death of Brian Jones. “We did about three or four zipper ideas and maybe six other album-cover concepts,” he’s quoted as saying. “Another idea was to take a photo from the perspective of the bottom of a swimming pool; looking up and through the water you’d see the Stones’ faces standing around the pool. The idea was to come up with something shocking, to push the envelope. But that was too sick even for The Stones.” He claims another idea that was eventually binned was a design that featured a decapitated Mick Jagger. In comparison with these gory and grim rejected concepts, the finally-approved cover featuring a close-up of a covered yet suggestive crotch seems tame although in Spain the jeans and zipper sleeve was reportedly banned and replaced with a photo of a hand poking out of a tin of treacle. However, one could perhaps argue that the Spanish option (said to have been designed by The Stones) is more unsettling…
Is that treacle, or is it actually – subliminally – meant to be a can of blood, do you think?…
As for who was responsible for coming up with the original idea for the Rolling Stones’ logo, that’s an avenue you can explore further in the two video-links below. One is an interview with John Pasche, the other with Ernie Cefalu. Both men recount their stories and both back up their claims with objects of evidence such as letters, sketches and art-work.
Irrespective of which artist was responsible for what (Pasche? Cefalu?), there’s at least one Rolling Stone (Keith Richards) who’s publicly stated that the tongue and lips emblem is invocative of Kali. This in turn would perhaps support claims that other members of the band (namely, Mick Jagger) have thought similarly? Now, if you’re looking for some form of symbolism that connects the Rock-group to this Hindu deity, then how about checking out what Professor David R. Kingsley states in his 1997 book, ‘Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine: The Ten Mahavidyas’ with regards to the ancient goddess, and most particularly with what he claims she represents. You’ll perhaps notice that it’s almost a word-for-word description of the Rolling Stones and how they lived their days during those younger, wilder years of the 1960s and early ‘70s, as well as what they epitomised and how they were perceived by those looking from the outside in whether rightly or wrongly. The similarities are, quite frankly, eye-widening. He writes, “Kali denotes freedom, particularly freedom from societal norms. She dwells outside the confines of normal society. Her loose hair and nudity suggest that she is an outsider, beyond convention. She is worshipped by criminals and outcastes. She is unrefined, raw in appearance and habit. And she is powerful, full of energy, perhaps because of being an outsider, a breaker of boundaries and social models.”
‘Sticky Fingers’ was released in April ‘71. The follow-up, ‘Exile on Main St.,’ was unleashed almost twelve months later in May ‘72. A double-album, it was the last in the stream of classics encompassed within The Stones’ so-called ‘golden age’ period.
‘Exile on Main St.’
There have been flashes of musical brilliance from them since, but, on the whole, the band has never come close to recreating an uninterrupted run of artistic and critical triumphs as achieved between 1968 and 1972. Indeed, in the years that have followed, it could be argued that their subsequent recorded works have attracted less and less attention when compared to the coverage given to their mammoth live concert tours which they continue to stage in stadiums all across the globe, and with a set-list largely comprised of songs that hark back to their 1960s and early ‘70s hey-day when they were positioned at the centre of a cultural and societal revolution that we‘re still feeling the impact of five decades on. As a matter of fact, the third and final instalment of this retrospective will not only focus on episodes and incidents that occurred during the band’s post-’Exile’ years leading us right into the present, but will also dip back and revisit the sixties once again to re-investigate the era when Rock acts were hailed as spokespeople and/or leaders of their generation. After all, if we’re to believe the claims of countless researchers who argue that the counter-culture of that time was nothing more than a plot to destabilise and degenerate, then what role if any did the Rolling Stones play in this deception? ‘Conspiro Media’ will document some of the intriguing information on offer that might help shed some light on this question, information that’ll require us to take a trip back to Altamont, and also to the events surrounding the death of Brian Jones which, contrary to the official verdict, looks by no means to have been caused by “misadventure.” Explore these two tragedies in close-depth and you can find links that lead in some way shape or form to the CIA, FBI, the UK’s Royal Family, Freemasonry, paedophilia, and possible MK ULTRA. Part Three of this retrospective will report on the nature of these shady connections and will also trace the backgrounds of yet more of the Rolling Stones’ inner-circle of friends and acquaintances, a significant number of whom connect (allegedly or not) either to British/US Intelligence, the KGB, the military, and/or the aristocracy. Furthermore, add to this forthcoming article one or two gangsters, some allegations of witchcraft, more clues of ’Satanic’ symbolism, yet another violent death, 9/11(?!), and an analysis of the more questionable aspects of Mick Jagger’s life and political views, and it should (hopefully) make for interesting and enlightening reading.
‘The Secret History of the World’ – Jonathan Black. (pgs: 23-24, 62-63, 64-66, 71-72)
‘Magic. A Treatise on Esoteric Ethics.’ (pgs: 14-15, 19-21, 24-27). Manly Palmer Hall.
‘Mick Jagger. Primitive Cool.’ Christopher Sandford. (pg: 120).
‘The Master and Margarita.’ Mikhail Bulgakov. (pgs: 4-6, 12, 33-35).
‘The Black Arts: A Concise History of Witchcraft, Demonology, Astrology and Other Mystical Practises Throughout the Ages.’ Richard Cavendish (pgs: 23-26)
‘Life.’ Keith Richards (pgs: 236, 255, 265, 313)
‘Up and Down with the Rolling Stones. My RollercoasterRide with Keith Richards.’ Tony Sanchez. (pgs: 33-38, 155-158, 159-160, 208, 299-300)