By Kyle B. Stiff
The beautifully weird video for David Bowie’s new song Blackstar may be much more than just a crazy collage of random imagery. It’s full of occult references! Meaning can be found, but only if you’re willing to strip away comfortable ideas and step into the world of gods and symbols and unexpected correlations.
First, watch Blackstar if you haven’t already. Don’t worry, it’s great, you’ll have a good time. After that, we’ll go through the imagery, then the lyrics.
At the beginning of the video, a woman with a tail discovers a dead astronaut. This could be a direct reference to “ancient aliens” or “ancient astronauts”, the popular theory that aliens had a part in mankind’s early development. Note that the woman has a tail, and is thus part animal. According to the ancient astronaut theory, the extraterrestrial Elohim or Annunaki (“those who from the heavens to earth came”) encountered primitive monkey-men, tinkered with their genes, created various slave races, and eventually settled on modern man. Notice that the woman is in awe of the skull; it is inlaid with jewels and is simply beyond mundane comprehension. She takes it to her people who are amazed, much like cavemen would be amazed by cell phones. People who are into the ancient astronaut theory often wonder at the awe primitive man must have felt looking at the rockets, space suits, and computers used by our otherworldly visitors or progenitors.
Or, if you want to skip the ancient aliens theory and go for straight symbolism, the animal-woman might be an artist, one of those visionaries who sees what normal people can’t see. She looks at death and wonders at the journey that lies beyond the place where we can’t look. Instead of looking into the black pits in the eyes of the skull and being horrified by her own inevitable demise (and developing a bunch of annoying neuroses), she sees something beautiful and mysterious. She brings back her findings to her people, which is what all artists are supposed to do, and they get a kick out of it, which is what a properly entertained and enlightened audience should do.
Next we see David Bowie with his eyes covered and false eyes in their place. I think this is a Gnostic reference. The Gnostics were an early Christian sect – quite possibly even the original Christian sect, depending on who you ask. Their writings would seem strange and disturbing to modern day Christians because the Gnostics believed that the God of the Old Testament was an evil demon. According to the Gnostics, he was created by accident and, because he was blind and demented, he couldn’t see any other gods, thus he believed that he was the only god in existence. From that perspective, a lot of the asshole-ish stuff done by the God of the Old Testament makes a little more sense.
The God of the Old Testament is known by many names, like Yahweh, but the Gnostics called him Yaldabaoth. Sounds like something from the Cthulu mythos, doesn’t it? This demented god-creature spawned other creatures like itself, and they were called archons, which is Greek for “ruler”. It’s generally agreed in the occult world that archons are parasites from a “higher dimension” who feed on human energy. This explains why Bowie is in a room full of people who are shaking and jerking around. What seems like random weirdness may actually be a representation of people being worked up by various dramas and rituals before being milked of etheric energy. If you’ve ever been on a battlefield or watched a large sporting event or attended a megachurch, then from a Gnostic perspective you could assume that there were god-critters floating overhead and sucking on the energy generated by the excited human livestock.
We see Bowie holding up some kind of holy book. Keeping in mind that archons are parasites that survive by manipulating groups of people, then of course they would have to take over religions and use them for evil purposes. It doesn’t take a great leap of logic to assume that most religions are born out of a sense of awe and appreciation for the great mystery of existence. There’s nothing bad about that. It takes a lot of work by a lot of dummies to go from awe and reverence to killing and torturing people, and archons love manipulating dummies. Dummies are “blind,” they lack “eyes to see and ears to hear” as Christ said, and they are easily worked up by drama and narratives of conflict. When they hear Crowley say “every man and every woman is a star” or Christ say “you are gods” it goes right over their heads. They like the Old Testament stuff about people being born into sin; it’s easy for them to feel existential guilt, guilt about sex, self-deflating thoughts, general repression issues, things like that.
At the end of the video, we see scarecrows crucified in a field. They’re scary; even Bowie (as Yaldabaoth) is freaked out by them. This could indicate the Gnostic idea that Christ existed in opposition to the demon-god of the Old Testament. Christ came to spread gnosis, or wisdom / enlightenment, rather than cleanse people of sins (to the Gnostics, sin was a state of ignorance). So at the end of the video, it’s like we’re seeing a spiritual battle, and it’s frightening. Note that early Christians were hunted down, and all Gnostics were most likely exterminated, once the archons infected the original version of Christianity and turned it into the demon-worshipping death-cult it has become… that is, according to the modern Gnostic renaissance.
Now let’s look at some lyrics. I’m going to blast through a bunch of them, but not all of them, in absolutely no particular order.
I’m a black star
This is repeated many times. The idea of a “black sun” has a ton of different meanings from many different cultures, but here’s an interesting alchemical take on it. In alchemy, many of their illustrations feature the sun in various states of color. This corresponds with different stages of breaking down matter for experiments, or it could correspond with the state of a human being as he develops through life. In alchemy, a “black sun” is the process of blackening that something can go through, perhaps through burning or, in the case of a living being, suffering. The black sun is also referred to as a “crow’s head”, so the crucifixion of the scarecrows, if seen from that perspective, might make a little more sense. The Christ-figure is scaring away Yaldabaoth from the field of crops (or humans) which he has been farming for etheric energy.
I Am the Great I Am
In Hebrew, Yahweh can be translated into “I am”. This comes from the Book of Genesis, when Moses asked for the name of the being giving him orders, and it responded, “I am that I am”
Yod He Vav He
This could be an ultimate assertion of existence, or even a monotheistic claim of isolated existence, as in, “There are no other gods but me.” This is also a great thing to say during a magickal ritual; you’re becoming the focus of the entire universe and thus have power over matter.
Again, the Gnostic perspective is that there are many gods, but Yaldabaoth, being blind and demented, believed he was alone.
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
This could have to do with the hijacking of a spiritual movement by dummies or archons. The death of Christ, who told people that they were gods and that they would eventually do greater things than he did, was taken over by the same sort of fanatical guilt-mongers who killed him in the first place. There’s not much difference between right-wing evangelical Christianity and hardcore Judaism (and angry Islam), is there?
Take your passport and shoes
And your sedatives, boo
You’re a flash in the pan
I’m the great I am
Passports and shoes are necessary for travelling across borders, from one “world” to another. If your means of spiritual travel are taken away, then you’re going to incarnate in the same realm over and over again, suffering endlessly, milked and harvested by parasites who think they’re gods.
We were born upside-down
Born the wrong way ‘round
This could be like a curse. In a protective pentagram, you can fit the image of a human being, with the head and limbs corresponding to the points on the star. But if you turn the pentagram upside down (making it “Satanic”) then the man inside is also turned upside down. He is humiliated, his spirit on the bottom and more earthly elements taking precedence up top.
There’s also many many mentions of eyes, as well as shots of eyes. This is a pretty ubiquitous image in occult lore, and can mean many things. My favorite thing to focus on with eye imagery is that moment of personal transformation when you strip away all elements of yourself, including your goofy job and silly political beliefs and the dumb stuff in your brain that you think makes up “you”, and all you have left is the “observer”. It’s the part of you that can’t be roped in by drama and silly stuff, which your mind latches onto and thinks is so important. It’s the part of you that is you but is also outside of you, observing, and is eternal.