Led Zeppelin – Jimmy Page, Aleister Crowley and Lucifer rising
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Wikipedia - Interest in the occult
The appearance of four symbols on the jacket of Led Zeppelin's fourth album has been linked to Page's interest in the occult. The four symbols represented each member of the band. Page's own so-called "Zoso" symbol originated in Ars Magica Arteficii (1557) by Gerolamo Cardano, an old alchemical grimoire, where it has been identified as a sigil consisting of zodiac signs. The sigil is reproduced in Dictionary of Occult, Hermetic and Alchemical Sigils by Fred Gettings.
During tours and performances after the release of the fourth album, Page often had the "Zoso" symbol embroidered on his clothes, along with zodiac symbols. These were visible most notably on his "Dragon Suit", which included the signs for Capricorn, Scorpio and Cancer which are Page's Sun, Ascendant and Moon signs, respectively.
The artwork inside the album cover of Led Zeppelin IV is from a painting attributed to the artist Barrington Colby, influenced by the traditional Rider/Waite Tarot card design for the card called "The Hermit". Very little is known about Colby and rumours have persisted down the years that Page himself is responsible for the painting. Page transforms into this character during his fantasy sequence in Led Zeppelin's concert film The Song Remains the Same.
In the early 1970s Page owned an occult bookshop and publishing house, The Equinox Booksellers and Publishers, on Holland Street in Kensington, London, eventually closing it as the increasing success of Led Zeppelin occupied his time. The company published a facsimile of English occultist's Aleister Crowley's 1904 edition of The Goetia. Page has maintained a strong interest in Crowley for many years. In 1978, he explained:
I feel Aleister Crowley is a misunderstood genius of the 20th century. It is because his whole thing was liberation of the person, of the entity and that restrictions would foul you up, lead to frustration which leads to violence, crime, mental breakdown, depending on what sort of makeup you have underneath. The further this age we're in now gets into technology and alienation, a lot of the points he's made seem to manifest themselves all down the line. ...I'm not saying it's a system for anybody to follow. I don't agree with everything but I find a lot of it relevant and it's those things that people attacked him on, so he was misunderstood....I'm not trying to interest anyone in Aleister Crowley any more than I am in Charles Dickens. All it was, was that at a particular time he was expounding a theory of self-liberation, which is something which is so important. He was like an eye to the world, into the forthcoming situation. My studies have been quite intensive, but I don't particularly want to go into it because it's a personal thing and isn't in relation to anything apart from the fact that I've employed his system in my own day to day life....The thing is to come to terms with one's free will, discover one's place and what one is, and from that you can go ahead and do it and not spend your whole life suppressed and frustrated. It's very basically coming to terms with yourself.
Page was commissioned to write the soundtrack music for the film Lucifer Rising by Crowley admirer and underground movie director Kenneth Anger. …… Page released the Lucifer Rising music on vinyl in 2012 via his website on "Lucifer Rising and other sound tracks". Side one contained "Lucifer Rising – Main Track", whilst side two contained the tracks "Incubus", "Damask", "Unharmonics", "Damask – Ambient", and "Lucifer Rising – Percussive Return".
Although Page collected works by Crowley, he has never described himself as a Thelemite nor was he ever initiated into the OTO. The Equinox Bookstore and Boleskine House were both sold off during the 1980s, as Page settled into family life and participated in charity work.