Saturday, June 11, 2011

Music Festivals, Richard Grossinger, Star-Cults

It's that time of year again - time of the music festivals....Glastonbury coming up in the UK, Bonnaroo already underway, in the USA, in Tennessee...with countless others, great and small, on the calendars for coming weeks.

A couple of years ago, around this time, I quoted from a favourite book: Richard Grossinger's The Night Sky - a chapter where the author ponders upon what he calls a "star cult".

I didn't know Dr. Grossinger's date of birth, but later on stumbled across his newly opened website complete with bio and birth date. I'd noted that Dr. Grossinger's writing style had much in common with Carl Sagan's (of whom I'm also a fan), and I later posted as follows:

Born in New York City on 3 November 1944.

I was right about Scorpio then! I'd sensed a similarity in writing style to that of the late Carl Sagan who had Sun/Mercury/Venus/Jupiter in Scorpio at 16, 3, 14 & 6 degrees respectively. Dr. Grossinger has Sun Mars and Mercury at 11, 14 and 19 degrees of Scorpio.

Dr Grossinger's natal Moon would have been in Gemini (sign of the communictor) whatever time of day or night he was born .

So, licking my index finger, I mark up a point for myself in the air. Like the A-Team: "I love it when a plan comes together!"

Back to the book, and star-cults!

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....."

Time is ripe for a new version of star-cult, more appropriate to the the 21st century.

Today's festivals are but leftovers of that old star-cult. Aren't we ready yet for something new yet?

It could well have been Neptune's reign in Scorpio, from mid-1950s on, that kick-started the star-cult Dr. Grossinger wrote about. Neptune's transit through Airy Aquarius was too intellectually-oriented to spawn its own version of star-cult. Next year Neptune will establish a transit of its own domain : Watery, dreamy Pisces. That's when I'd expect a creative new version of some form of star-cult to enter the scene. The "old guard" will still be with us for a while, of course - but watch what else happens.....

All four archived posts mentioning Richard Grossinger can be easily accessed via the Label Cloud in my sidebar - click on Richard Grossinger, listed under "R" because my Label Cloud didn't ever take indexing lessons.

Richard Grossinger now has a blog:
Reality Sandwich where there are all kinds of goodies to sample.


Gian Paul said...

Being quite ignorant about POP music I only red the details of your post because you, Twilight, posted it...

The passage about love ("when the Heavens cried out for love etc.") made me think about what's needed for the "return of the gods"? Songs, dreams, feelings of the heart?

The latter most probably could be effective.

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~ Well - thanks for looking in, GP. I'm not much into pop music these days myself. I used the music festivals mainly as a way to reference Dr. Grossinger's words once again.

Songs and dreams, heartfelt, are fine- wonderful in fact, but only go so far. Action is needed too.
don't know exactly what kind of action - but something needs to be happening, and soon!

Wisewebwoman said...

Gosh you brought a rush of memories T. All interesting. How terrified we were of atomic warfare, how hopeful we were with the dawning of The New Age.
How sad we are now that all that potential seems to have evaporated.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~ Yes. So sad. Many of those then hippie-types are now corporation-types.

A new wave will come though! Don't know when, but it will come.

Unknown said...

Hi Twilight! Richard has a new book out now called Dark Pool of Light. If you'd like a review copy please contact me. I'm in the publicity department at North Atlantic Books. Best, Nick. nsanchez at northatlanticbooks dot com.

Twilight said...

Nick Sanchez ~ sorry for delay in publishing your comment - hadn't noticed it awaiting moderation due to change in Blogger interface.

Thank you for the information - very interested, will visit your site.