I thought I’d go for one of the obvious choices in my own musical history and read some Blue Oyster Cult! I chose Cultosaurus Erectus, given that it’s considered the band’s greatest album by certain malcontents — that is to say, once upon a time, the fan club’s president wrote a piece that was basically “fight me, this underrated album is actually the best.” I can appreciate that. But the first track on this album is also the whole reason I got into the band at all. And the whole album is crazy.
You ever wonder how reading actually works? I don’t mean the most fundamental kind of reading — you know, looking a word and knowing what it means. However, there’s actually not much difference between the two kinds of reading. What I do mean is the kind of reading where you finish a poem and you know what it meant — not what it said, but what it meant. I find my students often don’t know the difference. So I’m pretty good at explaining it. I thought it might be interesting to talk about it. At a simple level, the way you read a poem is the way you read a tarot card or a painting or a situation. It’s all about triangulation.
Last time, I nerded out a little, and then we covered the first portion of A Passion Play, the prog rock concept album by Jethro Tull. Here’s part two, in which we meet the devil himself.
Let’s take a break from this Daggerfall mess. Here’s a Halloween special! It’s a day early for ye olde posting schedule, so don’t expect to see anything Wednesday. Halloween is the time, in the northern hemisphere at least, where we feel the presence of the dead close to us. So what better than an album about death and rebirth? Nothing, that’s what! Let’s talk about Jethro Tull’s A Passion Play.
It’s a bright, sunny day in early May. Highway 460 is revealing delights I, who grew up along it, have never imagined. Soon-to-be pumpkin patches vie with tiny post offices for our attention. My wife and I are driving nearly two hours, from my empty childhood home, to visit my mother in the hospital. We’ve had a hard few days. I was in the hospital for some routine tests, which came at the end of days of fasting. Yesterday I thought my mother was dying, and we drove over three hours to see her, then two, at midnight, through deer-crossed night roads, to sleep. And we are discussing how lovely and remarkable old gospel music is. This is odd, because I am a vaguely heathen chaos magician and my wife is a Buddhist-flavored atheist.
What follows is a transcription of the picture above. In the best sort of magical exploratory way, I wrote through a difficulty contextualizing the Christian figure of Christ in magic. Most deities are specific in their roles. Christ is less so.