Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"STAR-CULT" of the '50s and '60s ~ A new one in the wings?

About a year ago I posted a couple of snippets from a book I'd just bought, "The Night Sky" by anthropologist Dr. Richard Grossinger. (Here's the relevant post).
I've continued to read the book, random-fashion, whenever at a loose end. I'm always impressed by Dr Grossinger's writing style. He reminds me a little of Carl Sagan, whose book "Cosmos" I can similarly pick up and become engrossed from any random page. Both writers have, at times, what I can only describe as a magical turn of phrase. Dr. Grossinger has a much kinder approach to astrology though, as I pointed out in my earlier post.

I'd love to know Dr Grossinger's birth date, but the internet so far has given up only that he was born in 1944 and in New York City. I feel sure he must have some Scorpio magic threading through his natal chart - or Pisces, perhaps.

In the penultimate chapter of "The Night Sky" Dr.Grossinger wanders into the realm of pop culture, the chapter's title: "The Pop Star Cult of the Fifties and Sixties".
What he describes was also the start of a culture of youth which, before that point in history hadn't existed. He's also talking about early Baby Boomers. He writes about growing up with the legacy of World War 2:the atom bomb. Being a War Baby myself I understand where he's coming from. He describes the development of what he calls a star-cult.

Some excerpts:
"The sirens warned us of another holocaust for which the atom bomb was the emblem. For all the times they accidentally went off, we still survived into the sixties..........................the nuclear war we seemed to have evaded, against the odds, was happening to us anyway, as radiation leaked into the rivers and the air, and Joan Baez sang "What have they done to the rain?"

This was the dark Plutonian half of the era, when a star cult began...... ......There was a star-cult because we needed a star-cult, and a star- cult alone would do. We were born into a tremendous heat and a prophecy. We knew that we were going to be something different because the world had become absurd. The passion we felt went beyond anything we could feel the passion for, so we transformed each other into angels and messengers, and we listened to the inter-stellar debris.........................

When the heavens cried out for their "stars above" and tens of thousands of jukeboxes and radios wailed variants of the word "love", didn't we understand that our whole civilization was praying for the return of the gods, the return of those powers within us that had brought us into being?

Yes, it is love which brings us here and love which gives us life.

Yes, we stand, every man and every woman, within the stars. Who else has survived the incredible galactic and atomic violence to be here for a day of song?

Bobby Darin called his "Dream Lover" from a faraway world; a zodiac figure, like Paul Anka's Venus...Frankie Laine "gambled for love in the moonlight", Elvis went to Heartbreak Hotel, as remote as the house of Cepheus. There he dreamed of "a warmer sun" in a world long past his own brief life. The melodies and the dances were otherworldly and exotic......

The baseball cards changed to tarot cards, and they fell like meteors across an older sky. "Do you believe in magic?" the Lovin' Spoonful asked at a cusp of changing times. The Beatles visited India, and they returned with a cosmic instrument. Jimi Hendrix arrived with his songs of the outer Solar System.....other visionaries flocked to the deserts to watch the ancient ceremonies of the Native Americans...........So the new tribes gathered at Woodstock. It was no costume party. The stars were coming to claim their own, as they had with the Sufis and Cherokees for millennia. If the magic was in the music, the music was in us.

When the astral prophecy of the sixties made it to Broadway with the nude dancers of Hair, the messge to the stars could not have been clearer: "You twinkle above us, we twinkle below" and in 1980, in a movie called Fame, thirty years after the beginning of the cult, the chorus sang "Someday we'll all be stars". The magicians and astral priests promised likewise...........By the late sixties the star music had disintegrated into acid rock, atomic residue, and things were to get crazier....."

I wonder if it's time, yet, for a new star-cult, one more appropriate to the digital age? Nuclear weapons still threaten, the environment is still in grave danger, now more than ever.

Annual music festivals survive, Glastonbury festival in the UK is still going strong. The husband's grandson was at Bonnaroo in Tennessee at the weekend. Woodstock celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. These festivals are but leftovers of that old star-cult Dr. Grossinger writes about. Aren't we ready yet for something new - something slightly different?

I like to think that it was Neptune's reign in Scorpio, from the mid-1950s on, that kick-started the star-cult Dr. Grossinger is recalling. Neptune's in Airy Aquarius now - too intellectual for its own star-cult. In 2013 though Neptune will enter its own domain of Watery dreamy Pisces. That's when I'd expect a new version of star-cult to burst upon the scene, different in many ways from the old one, but retaining some common factors.


Dee said...

What do you think of the juxtaposition of neptune moving into pisces with the mayan 2012 date? A simple coincidence or something of deeper significance? What with pluto in capricorn transforming the structures of our economy and possibly even our very civilisation and with uranus squaring from aries firing up the populace, it's starting to look like a higher octave of the 60's.

Twilight said...

Hello Dee!

Not coincidence exactly, but part of the natural integrated cycle of our solar system. I'm unsure what to think about 2012 re the Mayan side of it. I think their civilisation, points of reference and understanding were so different from ours that we can't easily understand what we think they were implying for 2012. End of a cycle is the nearest, and least worrying translation I guess.

There are some interesting shifts around the same general timespan - bound to be some kind of shift in style, consciousness, ....something.

The 60s outer planets were Virgo/Scorpio (Earth/Water) for most of the decade.
and that is mid-zodiac-ish.

We'll have Aries/Pisces/Capricorn Fire/Water/Earth after 2012 until 2018 when Uranus gets Earthy again in Taurus. Aries/Pisces/Capricorn contains end and beginning of the zodiac. Again - a new cycle starting.

I don't know whether it could be a higher octave of the 60s, or a completely new scale. Interesting times to come! :-)

anthonynorth said...

I like the way he put that. Glastonbury will be on soon - indeed, such festivals are multiplying over here at the moment.

Twilight said...

AN ~~ Yes, he's a most engaging writer!

Lots of festivals this side of the pond too - from small ones in just about every town, to the biggies like Woodstock. It's a summer tradition now.