Reflections on Blackstar, Heiti, and Persona

I owe a special thank you to Sannion for talking with me on these matters, for hosting a discussion on this via the Bacchic Chat, and for providing an excellent sounding board and helping me to dig into different aspects of David Bowie’s music and other personas besides Blackstar that I had not encountered before.

I think it is interesting that I feel more comfortable saying Blackstar than I do David Bowie in regards to my feelings on him and understanding of him.  Especially since David Bowie’s recent passing.  I am still putting together my thoughts and feelings on all of this, but something I decided right after hearing of his death, is that I will be extending the same courtesy to David Bowie that I would to any of my Ancestors, or Dead I would worship, venerate, or pay homage to:

Wait a full year before putting Them on the Ancestors’ altar.  This gives Them time to acclimate, gives Them time to get through the journey They may need to do in the afterlife(ves) that They may be going through.  Doing so for him would be respectful and give him time to settle in, get the lay of the land, and so on.

I did not, and will never know David Bowie.  Given how private he was, I would be surprised if all but the closest of family members and friends actually knew him.

Bowie is different, and that’s part of why I am trying to be cautious in going forward.
In my understanding here, I understand Blackstar, and the other personae Bowie has adopted, as akin to heiti.  That is, David Bowie is still David Bowie under all of the makeup, outfit, and persona-crafting, but that his stage personas are distinct enough to receive cultus without affecting his primary persona(s) journey through the afterlife(ves).
I ran into Blackstar about a week, maybe two before David Bowie died.  I had never been exposed to his other works.  He strikes me very-much as Odin and Loki.  He reminds me very-much of Twice Blind, and also of The Bound Loki, especially in his Lazarus video.  Oh man.  Then back and forth between with that Twice Blind symbolism and the oracular writhing that looks like fucking seiðing, both in the Blackstar and Lazarus videos.
Given what I heard about David Bowie’s flirtation with Nazi aesthetic and stuff, it wouldn’t shock me if some Norse things, however shaped by that lens, would have found their way into his work.  I have not seen evidence of this yet, but then again, I’ve only just discovered his work, and I know next to nothing about him.
Sannion recommended to me listening to Helden, the German rendition of Heroes, and the original English version of Heroes, as well as The Doors’ Alabama Song and then David Bowie’s version.  As I was watching the German video, I see that he uses eye-covering imagery in his Heroes artwork cover too.  Layers.  I wonder how often this imagery comes up in his work?
Damn Helden and Heroes are good, though I gravitate more toward the German version.  I think a commenter in the video nailed it: there seems to be more emotion in the German version.  More…fury?  More ferocity.  Tenacity.
Alabama Song reminds me of a revival song, between the organ and beat.  Carnival-esque too.  I can see why Jim Morrison is one of the Dionysian heroes after listening to it!
Oh holy fuck I’m getting the grinning crafty Odin-drinking-a-whiskey-and-grinning-at-you-from-the-corner-smoking-a-pipe vibe from this.  Almost Mr. Wednesday-ish, especially the little girl bit.  Bit of Loki fiery flare too.  Hee.  But whiskey is one of the big offerings I offer to Them both when I get something to drink.  The Morrison version didn’t hit me over the head with this feeling.  Definitely felt more Dionysian, not sure which Name/title? but woof.
I feel, though, that we’re in this tricky-odd space.  As Sannion pointed out to me in an earlier email, we’ve never had an icon like this die in our lifetime.  By the time any of us would have come to our paths, Jim Morrison was dead for quite a while and well settled into the realm of the Dead, and with Dionysus.
I wish to respect the memory of David Bowie, and further to the point, his spirit.  So, despite being flushed with what I feel are very Odinic and Lokean connections through Blackstar, I will not be putting David Bowie’s picture on any of the shrines or altars I maintain.  Unless pushed to do otherwise, I would rather wait at least three months before I put anything referencing or relating to Blackstar on an altar, and do divination just to be damned good and certain this would be in good stead with Hela and David Bowie’s spirit.
This may be the emergence of a new hero cultus, and I would be surprised to find out folks within and without the polytheist communities have not already taken to this.  All that said, the abundance of caution I am trying to walk here is out of respect for David Bowie’s spirit, that of his family, and in due honor to Hela.  David Bowie was, from everything I have read, a very private person and kept as much of himself out of the limelight as possible, and so again, in regards to his family.  If it turns out I’m walking too cautious, I’m sure I’ll know before long.  That said, I’d rather not rush into this and take time to feel this out as things come forward.
Advertisements
  1. Heather Awen
    January 19, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    I’ve noticed most dead people need 18 months or so before they are “accessible” after death. With most cultures having funerals be away to make sure that the deceased spirit leaves and doesn’t come back, facilitating their moving on so they don’t become a ghost , I think this is really smart . During what I call the transition stage really the only thing people can do is hope that they are getting to whatever the right thing is . A lot of cultures have another funeral a year or 18 months later . There is a reason for wearing black for year . Because in our culture grief is a pathological diagnosis if it goes on for six months , and we are given the myth that happiness will make us happy , we have a really horrible relationship with death and with grief .

    As a rock journalist I used to say that David Bowie was a necessary condiment for a good album . Iggy Pop did his best work when living in Berlin with David Bowie end T Rex never sounded better than when David Bowie was involved . The song he does with Queen about homeless people called under pressure is amazing while his collaboration with Mick Jagger is terrible , which I think I should do with Mick Jagger cannot share the spotlight . He’s not collaborator .

    As for his solo work what I find interesting is that most people like David Bowie’s music but only one time. And one persona . I like Ziggy Stardust . I really like the song heroes but a lot of that is because I know some of the creative risks he took in recording the vocals that were very ahead of its time . Rock journalism makes you listen to music little differently I think. I wasn’t impressed with the thin White Duke with his songs modern love and let’s dance .

    You probably know that he has one blue eye and one brown eye .
    Anyway in the 1980s he would talk about how he thought Britain should become a fascist nation quite a lot in interviews . He will eat or said this was because of cocaine addiction . Considering that he sounded like any rich yuppie on cocaine who once was a hippie and now was a crazy capitalist , cocaine really is the logical explanation for why he was so in support of extreme right wing fascism . Another issue many have with him is his turning black women into a fetish . It’s interesting that he lived with slash from guns and roses because he was dating slash’s mother who is British and black . In many of his songs you can hear his fetish for black women . Like in the song suffragette city , that mellow black chick just put my spine out of place . So there were times when people felt he was racist but his marriage to a black supermodel did last . Perhaps he was trying to praise dark skinned women but because rock ‘n roll is such a macho boys club , especially in the 70s and 80s and today LOL , it did come across as rather misogynistic and racist .

    I don’t really feel that he contributed anything culturally aside from music but tons of people do that . The only good thing I can see that he did for society is that in the 1970s he helped to make bisexuality cool . If he can make out with Mick Jagger and Lou Reed publicly and dress the way he did , perhaps some young men who were gay but could not come out of the closet got a chance to say they were bisexual . I like to think that that is what his legacy is , which is actually somewhat connected to , I think you know the word I’m about to say , Ergi! He was a gender bender before anyone had that term .

    When you combine gender bending with having two different colored eyes end a vast array of personas that disappeared to never be seen again and being a catalyst to that makes other musicians sounds much better , I definitely can see the Loki and Odin aspects .

    That’s my rock journalism take on him historically . I’m 44 and I guess I’m supposed to remember when I heard about Kurt Cobain being dead , evidently that was supposed to be my generations John Lennon or JFK . But I’m never surprised when a drug addict dies because they all know they’re playing Russian roulette . Nobody can kid themselves , you do drugs to annihilate the pain and you understand that the risk is the rest of you could be annihilated to .

    David Bowie was definitely a drug addict , my least favorite drug cocaine because it was the happy Wall Street drug and very much fueled quite a lot of the worst changes during the Reagan administration . Ironically when the war on black people I mean the war on drugs was happening . So I think that there’s some trickster cautionary tales and what happens when you do cocaine and become extremely conservative suddenly , after being someone who was breaking all the barriers .

    It’s also really funny that in the cartoon venture Brothers David belly was the sovereign , who is the head of all the bad guys . In the and it turns out he’s really a shape shifter and David Bowie is not in charge of all of the Supervillains but it was great seeing Brian Eno end then when Iggy Pop was David Bowie’s henchmen who turned on him saying I’m not your dog , or when Brian Eno is approaching in the sky and someone yells out here come the warm Jets ! I thought it was one of the greatest fan tributes ever done . The fact that it was not David Bowie in the end but was instead shape changer is more David Bowie than anything else I can say .

    The dictation is not working well because I’m so sick and congested but I have been very interested lately in celebrities as being avatars , that’s not exactly the right word , there are people who get into amazing heights of publicity who seemed to be being used by different deities . Charlie Sheen is definitely own and I mean owned in every way by Aphrodite Porne, goddess for prostitutes . I’ve been doing a series called Wyrd Pop Culture examining different people . Charlie Sheen I think is an amazing example because he was able to stay the center of all media attention for two years for no reason whatsoever and then that makes his public announcement of being HIV-positive generate more public interest than if he had drifted into obscurity . The fact that he publicly announced being HIV-positive because of being blackmailed by prostitutes who knew , and that he has two wives that are called his goddesses , and he loves prostitutes because they are the best at what they do and he says he is the best at what he does , it’s a very obvious storyline .

    With the amazing changes in Russell Brand I am certain he is Loki’s boy . Raven had once told me that I was a maternal mother figure for Loki type people and I feel very maternal towards Russell Brand and he definitely has changed his life more than anyone else in the public eye in ways that are totally unexpected and seems to be actively using his fame to destroy everything that made him famous . It’s been a fascinating process to see happen .

    I’m not really sure what generation though David Bowie really exists for because of all the changes , changes is actually the name of one of the collections of his best works , early stuff he did, I tend to associate him with the 70s glam rock scene . I also associate him with some of the gay culture from the late 70s . What he did in the 80s was so mainstream it was to me almost like elevator music but I was 12 when modern love was being played everywhere . So to me it would’ve sounded like elevator music . The song he did with Queen under pressure which was number one in the UK and the US for quite a while and one of the big high points I think of band aid , or live aid, whatever the really giant first one that was on two continents was , that’s a really moving song because you can fit it into any scenario about Ragnarok .

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I’m really happy you’re giving him time to become whatever he will become now that he’s dead because in our culture people just don’t let the dead acclimate much less help them with ceremony in the journey . Plus I do find it very interesting when people connect celebrities with different deities . There are people who are destined to become very famous like Princess Diana or Marilyn Monroe , wide Princess Diana, why Marilyn Monroe? Figuring out what the deity or archetype that they are caught in to explain something to the people , as probably unwilling sacrifices , where their lives become far more then about them , is something I’m really interested about in . There has to be something behind it.

    One reason why I don’t really grieve David Bowie’s death is the same as I don’t grieve Lou Reed, who is probably New York City’s troubadour , and why Whitney Houston’s death didn’t affect me , with David Bowie or Lou Reed to die from natural causes around age 70 is almost a miracle considering how many drugs they did end how much unprotected sex they had . When I worked for William Burroughs my boss told me that if you are lucky you will grow old get sick and die . So David Bowie was one of the lucky ones .

  2. January 19, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    If you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly recommend watching the video for Little Wonder. Bowie shows two personas in it – one with two slitted yellow eyes (the image of him with the short hair, small beard, and slitted yellow eyes is very close to how I’ve always envisioned Loptr), and the other persona wears an eyepatch (but his other eye has a normalish, round iris and pupil). While the Loki/Odin imagery in it may not be deliberate, it’s hard to miss.

    Bonus points for slitty-eyed Loki/Bowie lying in a bathtub with coiled hoses dripping around his face. 😉

  3. Jareth G. King
    January 20, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    David Bowie did not have two differently colored eyes. He was in a brawl as a teen that resulted in him developing anisocoria — aka: one of his pupils was permanently blown.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: