The Devil is a Lie: Hip Hop, Esoteric Symbolism, and Illuminati-Phobia

Esoteric and Masonic symbolism in Hip Hop.

“Get Rich or Die Tryin’.” This was the title of 50 Cent’s 2003 album, and it summed up the Hip Hop attitude of a generation. It was about money, drugs and drug deals, and “booty.” Sure, these are still, to a greater or lesser extent, important elements of the genre. Though it’s been around since […]

Pagan Love Songs: Goth Subculture, Religiosity, and Occultism

Raven Digitalis, author of Goth Craft: The Magickal Side of Dark Culture, argues that “The Craft [of Wicca] very well may be the path that vibes best with Goth culture, not only because of its mystical allure, but also because of its emphasis on nature, magick, and the self all being interlinked, as well as the […]

Hinduism: It’s Appeal to Westerners

While Islam is generally regarded as the fastest growing religion in the West (mostly because of immigration into Europe), Hinduism, according to a 2011 census, is Australia’s fastest growing religion. And it’s also increasing in numbers in the USA. Compared to Christianity (which still dominates Western nation states), atheists and agnostics, and Muslims, Hindus, though, […]

Voodoo People: Sex, Power, African Faith And Fear in Popular Entertainment

Voodoo People collage

Colored by fascination, fetishism, and even a degree of fear, Hollywood’s portrayal of this enigmatic and little-understood folk faith of the African diaspora throws up cliches about the African seductress, South American culture, etc., and, perhaps unintentionally, highlights certain certain cultural traumas in European-descended society. Racial stereotyping and the issue of racism can float to […]

Skinhead: Jamaican Roots, Extreme-Rightists, Gay Iconism — A Movement of Contradictions

Like the dreadlocked Rastafarian and the Punk with his or her pink or blue “Mohican,” the Skinhead — shaven-headed and wearing imposing workmen’s or military-style boots — has become an iconic image — an archetype, even. But of what, exactly? Even today, Skinhead remains an emotive and highly controversial subject. And we approach it with […]

Stranger in a Strange Land: The Male Image as Otherness

John Dee occultist as Ziggy Stardust

He exists as an embodiment of an almost pure ideal. He is partly (in Christian terminology) Christ and partly Anti-Christ. He embodies the ideals of society to such an extent that he is seen, and sees himself, as utterly unlike it. He is mystical and messianic, and — thin and often pale — he seems […]

Zen by Design: How One Spiritual Idea Informs Brands From Muji to Apple

Simplicity — in the particular sense that we’re going to be talking about — has deep roots in traditional Japanese culture, especially related to Zen Buddhism. Yet it has also become an essential aspect of contemporary life, both in the East and West, whether its tweeting in a max of 140 characters, creating a logo, […]