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Bowie, David - Black Star

Identifier

029298

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

First we will look at the background to Blackstar

On Right brain thinking

 “My overriding interest was in Kabbalah and Crowleyism. That whole dark and rather fearsome never–world of the wrong side of the brain.”
– David Bowie, from “Bowie on Bowie: Interviews and Encounters with David Bowie 1976 ” by Sean Egan

On the Apocalypse:

I had this more–than–passing interest in Egyptology, mysticism and the Kabbalah. At the time it seemed transparently obvious what the answer to life was. My whole life would be transformed into this bizarre nihilistic fantasy world of impending doom, mythological characters and imminent totalitarianism.”
– David Bowie, Musician, May 1983

On Ascension

On an esoteric level, Major Tom represents the ascension of mortals towards divinity – an interpretation that is apparently confirmed in the 2015 video for the song Blackstar.

“Here am I floating ’round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do”
Space Oddity

Sacrifice, Rebirth, Apocalypse, Androgyny, and Aliens or UFOs

In 1972, Bowie introduces a new alter ego who instead descends to Earth from the heavens.

For his fifth album, Bowie introduced this alter-ego as Ziggy Stardust, an androgynous alien rock star who was sent by the “Infinites” to announce the coming of Starmen to Earth.

The Occult Universe of David Bowie and the Meaning of “Blackstar

“In Bowie’s visionary performance, civilization was going to collapse and the ‘Infinites’ would arrive. Ziggy Stardust was to announce the coming of these ‘starmen’ bringing hope. Ziggy is their prophet, the messiah who takes himself to incredible spiritual heights, and is kept alive by the devotion of his disciples. When the Starmen finally arrive, they take bits and pieces of Ziggy so they can manifest themselves as real physical beings. Eventually they tear him to pieces on stage during the performance of the song ‘Rock’n’Roll Suicide’. At the moment of Ziggy’s death, the Starmen take on his essence, and become visible.”

This a symbol of rebirth.

The Occult Universe of David Bowie and the Meaning of “Blackstar”

“The androgynous nature of Ziggy Stardust occultly represents a state of a higher spiritual level. In occultism, the highest stage of illumination is achieved through …. the equilibrium between opposing forces –  good and evil, active and passive, male and female. This concept is symbolically represented by the horned, hermaphrodite god Baphomet. It is also represented in alchemical symbolism such as the Alchemical Androgyne.”

Ziggy Stardust also embodies the opposite of the spiritual and the material worlds: While he represents a high level of spiritual illumination, he is also a rock star bent on distributing the message by whatever means possible in terms of publicity eg sex and heavy drug use.

In contrast to Major Tom who symbolises ascension, Ziggy Stardust descends from the “heavens”. He is a “higher being” who takes the form of a human in order to communicate a message, not unlike Jesus Christ.  Sacrifice is thus bound to be included  - crucified in a human form.

On the spiritual path  

The song Station to Station, referred to progress through the Kabbalistic ‘spiritual path.

Here are we
One magical movement
from Kether to Malkuth”
–  Station to Station

“Kether” and “Malkuth” are two of the 10 elements of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life — the highest and lowest parts, respectively.  In a 1997 interview, Bowie expanded on the “magickal” meaning of the song and how no mainstream sources ever addressed it.

Q Magazine, ChangesFiftyBowie”, 1997

The “Station to Station” track itself is very much concerned with the stations of the cross. All the references within the piece are to do with the Kabbala. It’s the nearest album to a magick treatise that I’ve written. I’ve never read a review that really sussed it. It’s an extremely dark album. Miserable time to live through, I must say.”

A description of the experience

Blackstar and Annihilation

Released two days before his death, Blackstar is David Bowie’s swan song in which he wraps up the mythology he has cultivated for five decades. The video of the same name is ‘a tapestry of dark images’. At the center of it all: A human being becoming a god - annihilation.

One very major influence on David Bowie was Alistair Crowley and his group the Golden Dawn

“I’m closer to the Golden Dawn
Immersed in Crowley’s uniform
I’m not a prophet or a stone-age man
Just a mortal with potential of a superman”
– Quicksand

In other words David Bowie was, throughout his life an Initiate of this movement going through the stages needed to become an adept.  We have Crowley on the site but very briefly,

The Golden Dawn was a magical secret society, a crowning glory of the occult revival which flourished at the end of the 19th century and taught a unique blend of Jewish mysticism (called Cabbala or Kabbalah, also to be found in Bowie’s symbolism), astral travel, magic, yoga (also practiced by Bowie) and how to communicate with angels and demons. “  and Sex magick.

Aleister Crowley, was initially a member of the Golden Dawn and then founded the O.T.O (Ordo Templi Orientis). He too dabbled with drugs, yoga, but principally Sex Magick.

In the Villa of Ormen
In the Villa of Ormen
Stands a solitary candle
At the centre of it all
At the centre of it all
Your eyes

On the day of execution
On the day of execution
Only women kneel and smile

At the centre of it all
At the centre of it all
Your eyes
Your eyes

Ormen is a snake or serpent.  In this contet it specifically represents the kundalini experience.  Bowie listed The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels as one of his favourite books. And Wikipedia has this to say about the the Gnostic symbol of the serpent [more correctly a double serpent]

"The ouroboros [...] is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail. The ouroboros often symbolizes ….. something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things such as the phoenix which operate in cycles that begin anew as soon as they end. It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished.

To get out of the endless cycle of rebirth, one goes through the initiation stages until one reaches the last and the Personality is extinguished and one becomes one’s immortal soul – a god.  Bowie recreated himself – died and rose again - resurrected himself - several times during his lifetime and in this song indicates he left the cycle to become a god like figure

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
I'm a Blackstar
I'm a Blackstar

How many times does an angel fall?
How many people lie instead of talking tall?
He trod on sacred ground
He cried loud into the crowd
I'm a Blackstar
I'm a Blackstar

Star is the symbol of the Higher spirit, the Milky Way is symbolically a collection of all the stars that achieved annihilation

I'm not a gangster

I can't answer why
I'm a Blackstar
Just go with me
I'm not a filmstar
I'm-a take you home
I'm a Blackstar
Take your passport and shoes
I'm not a popstar
And your sedatives, boo
I'm a Blackstar
You're a flash in the pan
I'm not a marvel star
I'm the great, I am
I'm a blackstar

I'm a blackstar, way up, oh honey, I've got game
I see right so white, so open-heart it's pain
I want eagles in my daydreams, diamonds in my eyes
I'm a Blackstar
I'm a Blackstar

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
I'm a Blackstar
I'm a star star
I'm a Blackstar

I can't answer why
I'm not a gangster
But I can tell you how
I'm not a flam star

A black star is a major agent of change – a trickster, a joker, a jester, or a heyoka – a person who changes by being both symbolically ‘white’ and ‘black’, the Harlequin, creating and destroying at the same time.  If you achieve this then you have had one of the most difficult jobs of all – figuratively playing chess with yourself. 

It can drive some people almost insane, this job.  It is also a horrendously lonely one.

The first line in what follows is a reference to the Hanged Man in the Tarot


We were born upside-down
I'm a star star
Born the wrong way 'round
I'm not a white star
I'm a Blackstar
I'm not a gangster
I'm a Blackstar
I'm a Blackstar
I'm not a pornstar
I'm not a wandering star
I'm a Blackstar
I'm a Blackstar

 

I think he was really excited to at last discover what his real role had been

In the Villa of Ormen
Stands a solitary candle
At the centre of it all
Your eyes

On the day of execution
Only women kneel and smile
At the centre of it all
Your eyes
Your eyes

The video begins with a dead astronaut on a remote planet.  A young girl opens the astronaut’s helmet and finds an ornate skull.  This symbolic of the death of the ego.  Major Tom ascended and died.  In other words, The jewel-encrusted skull represents the astronaut’s ascension into godhood.

Again in the video, three crucified scarecrows (who appear to be animated by an unholy force), twitch and move about.  The crucified [that is sacrificed] puppets.

 “I Am that I Am” is the response God used in the Hebrew Bible when Moses asked for his name.

The source of the experience

Bowie, David

Concepts, symbols and science items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Suppressions

Sex magick
Sexual stimulation

Commonsteps

References