At the end of “Moonage Daydream,” the new documentary about David Bowie, there is a brief snippet showing some of the greats who were among the “eclectic influences” on Bowie’s art. We see Buster Keaton, John Coltrane, William S. Burroughs, Aleister Crowley, Kafka, and some clips from science fiction movies.
This crops up now and again i.e. "Bowie and the occult/Crowley". He never actually discussed it directly or openly the way e.g. Jaz Coleman does. Some Bowie lyrics seem to allude to ceremonial magic and then some say that the song Station to station is about Rising on the Planes and then we have lyrics like, 'he played it left hand..., made love to his ego, sucked up into his mind'. Any sorta 'far out' modern musician whether drug fuelled or not is going to produce lyrics that, if you try hard enough, you can pin some occult reference to.
The direct Crowley reference though is in the following song;
Bowie is relatively powerful stuff. His subtlety makes one wonder who his Aiwass was, but it also shows that he, even in fame, was able to command The Fourth Power of The Sphinx.
Of course, in the song you quoted gives undeniable code words, Golden Dawn and Crowley's, that could be used in a Tort of Law or in The Octagon, Case closed. Bowie borrowed from Crowley - just like they all did ...
Crowley borrowed from G.'.D.'. and Ordo
Ordo borrowed from the Templar Land
Please change "Lineage" to Lending Tree
It is known that Bowie was a voracious reader whose taste spanned a great palate. Therefore it shouldn't come as a surprise that he cites Crowley or the Kabbala. As such, the fact that he makes so few of these allusions does not - in my mind - suggest that he was fascinated and influenced by Occultism, but rather that these were items of fleeting interest to him, and that we shouldn't read too much into his lyrics.
I think the Quicksand lyrics and theme betoken more than a passing reading interest in occultism, he probably got into it seriously for a while, but eventually noped out - that is after all partly what the song is about.
There was a fair amount of occultism "in the air" at the time (mid 60s to mid 70s) in the musical world - not just Jimmy Page, but several other musical alumni at the time (including one influential blues rock organist whose name I forget, who committed suicide IIRC). I wouldn't be surprised if Bowie got into it for a while himself, and the song does seem to suggest that. But in the large scheme of his life it was obviously only a passing experiment.
Artists will generally flirt with all sorts of things in a semi-serious or serious way, but they usually don't commit to any particular esotericism, because they have to keep their palate clean, as it were, to do art properly. They are the natural-born magicians and mystics who can "finger the old school tie," as AC said. They are to some extent born with what many of us have to struggle to achieve - a conscious or semi-aware sort of connection to their divine aspect.
obviously only a passing experiment.
A somewhat prolonged one, if so; in addition to the 1971 lyric cited by david, there is 1976's "Station to Station" with
Here are we
One magical movement
From Kether to Malkuth
There are you
You drive like a demon
From station to station
The return of the Thin White Duke
from an album he referred to as "the nearest album to a magick treatise that I've written", and his final projects are full of spiritual/mystical imagery and language.
Just saw the Moonage Daydream movie, the first half or so is superb, drags a bit when we get to the '80s-'90s (not strictly chronological but mostly so). Worth seeing if you are at all a Bowie fan.
"the nearest album to a magick treatise that I've written", and his final projects are full of spiritual/mystical imagery and language.
Look at it this way
look the other way
no matter how you look
there's only this to say
Bowie cut it!
From the earliest thing I saw about him, which was the very cool and strange The Man who Fell to Earth, Bowie has consistently displayed "occult" or "metaphysical" concepts in his works. "Success is your proof" - what else do you want?
I have to check out that new Bowie biopic.
His last album's music video has quite a few intriguing occult nods in it, the Eternal Flame, the Black Sun, black vs white, the all seeing eye(s) the two thieves and Jesus on the cross, the decapitated bejeweled head etc: