The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll by Christopher Knowles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Rock and Roll music has affected all of us in one way or another. I too have had my mystical experience listening to to some awesome mind blowing album or going to some off the hook concert. Rock music is a spiritual experience with it's roots going all the way back to stone age Paganism. Rock and Roll offered it all as did the ancient Pagan religion.
Perhaps it began all the way back in Egypt based as it was on the agricultural cycle as personified by the Osiris cycle. The ancient Egyptians were based on the annual flooding of the Nile as it gave water for their crops. During the year there were times of little water and plenty of water. That meant food. To push this along the Egyptians invented ritual. Osiris was the original Greenman the vegetative God in a shortened version of the story his brother kills him a couple of time and Isis resurrects him only to have him killed again. Horus their son grows up to take revenge and Osiris becomes kindg of the Underworld. Horus was born by the say on December 25. The mystery cults would have rituals to celebrate fertility and crop growth. These involved the consumption of intoxicating substances, orgiastic behavior and loud rhythmic music. There were other festival like this to honor the Gods like in honor of Sekhmet where people would get really drunk and then fornicate in the marshes. Sekhment, the Lion Goddess went on a killing spree and only stopped after drinking red beer that she thought was blood. She then gets turned in Hathor, a goddess of booze, sex and good time. Bastet was another cat goddess who was honored with feasting and drinking. Her followers would get blitzed and then expose themselves in boat going down the Nile. The partying ended off in trump of love making.
Some of these mystery cults made their way to Greece. The Cabeiri or mighty ones though may have been Trojan or sea faring Indo Europeans. They were connected to Hephestus a smith god. Being half man and half crab these guys would show up and help people unexpectedly. Located as they were in Samothrace there were other deities who were worhsipped like Persephone, Hecate and the Phallic God Hermes. Most Samothracian mysteries were open to everyone and special sevices were held in the house of lords. In these rituals were blood sacrifices, confessions and meditations. Sound familiar?
The Elusinian mysteries were dedicated to Demeter who lost her daughter to Hades. In grief she traveled the world looking for her and all the crops died in the process. We all know shee gets her back but has to go back to Hades for parts of the year. Clearly based on the agricultural cycles like the Isis-Osiris chronicles, Demeter is called Isis-Sothis and is connected to the Egyptian Goddess. Both lost someone to the undderworld who comes back temporarily. Both lived with mortal caring as a nanny for their children. Both burn the mortality out of the children. While living with the mortal Demeter has a shrine built for herself and she teaches the mysteries to the people living their.The mysteries she taught them extol the joys of parenthood. The lesser mystery rites happens once a years and the greater rites happen every five years. The five year rites wer open to initiates only and it was not easy to join. Something called kykeon was consumed and it was an intoxicating beverage. It was believed that the ecstacy brought one in communion.
Dionysis/ Bachus believed to be derived from Osiris has a sort of scandalous reputation. He was the god of wine and and harvest. He had female disciples called Maenads. These female followers of his would reach such a frenzy that they could rip up animals and become extremely hysterical. Modest women would become immodest. The partying would become so crazy that the Romans felt that the cult was dangerous to Roman unity so they quashed or at least tried to. Dionyus was born to Zeus in and adulterous fling. Hera his jealous wife had him killed and fed to the titans. Zeus zapped the Titans with lightning and from this mankind was made. Later he would be born again.
The Korybantes were warrior mad men who would raise a racket and sing until their throats were raw. They followed Cybelle a mother goddess in Phrygia. They are oft confused with the Kouretes and dactyls. Legend has it that the Korybantes protected Dionysis while the Kourets protected Zeus from Chronos. The Dactyls did the Olympic games. Historians get mixed up n these guys quite frequently.
The Galloi were gender benders. Often castrating themselves like Attis Cybels male consort. They had an hermaphrodite appears and sang with a high voice. They were sacred priests. Gender bending and homosexuality were not seen as sinful byt the Pagan population. In fact such activities could lead one closer to the deities. Later Rock and Roll stars would adopt this and other things. Orpheus was one such deity so saddend by his wifes demise and his failure to deliver her from the Underworld that he refuses all female contact. Some say he had male lovers he end up getting torn apart by meanad for turning down their advances.
The Romans who succeeded the Greeks adopted many foreign Gods. Cybeele was adopted in the 3rd century after some disasters and victories. Isis was really popular and Mithras a God from Persia became popular amongst the Roman military. Their main meeting place was on today's Vatican hill/ They also partook of his blood and body. Sound familiar.
Roman ideas would spread all over Europe. As would the musical ideas. When the Christians rose from being persecuted underdogs to the upper ruling class they took over . They burned down Pagan shrine and what they could not eradicate they adopted as their own. Paganism amy have been underground but it was not dead. Groups like the Masons, Rosicrucians and Freemason kept the mystery teaching alive. Celtic musicians would bring their music to the shores of America and West Africans who inherited Relgion and Music from the Egyptians would bring their stuff over as well. Many Rock stars studieds the works of occultist like AE Waite, Alester Crowley and others.
Of course there were Gods that I failed to mention and they inmpacted Music just as much. Apollo was a sun god and the god of poetry and prophecy. Often times his singers would couch big ideas in catchy tunes. Such would include the like of Elvis Presley,beach Boys and the Police. The wild Dionysian rockers would include Van Halen, the Doors and the Greatful Dead. Earth mOthers o Demeter types would be Tina Turner and Janis Joplin. The Gender benders of the neo Galloi woulld be New York Dolls, Prince and Queen. THe witchy women who were like Isis the mistress of magic would be the likes of Stevie Nicks, Patie Smith and Kate Bush.
Hermetic rockers are kind of like Hermes. He was a wordsmith and psychopomp. He could be super intellectual and be locked in a basement trying t figure things out. Pink Flod and Hendrix fit well into this ctegory. They can be inventive as well. The list goes on and on and I have given you more than a taste. If you want to find out more you will have to by the book. Well worth the read.
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