Thursday, December 17, 2009

Back to Holywood Part 1: the Holywood Spread.

Let’s face; I have two great passions in my life right now; reading the Tarot and following Marilyn Manson.

I had my first Tarot session in 2001 when some girls at work took me to see this dude who seemed like the low-profile version of Walter Mercado (a famous Latin astrologer). It wasn’t so bad really, but then they always act like they know you from ages ago. Nothing of what he told me came true; the only thing that seemed to match was what he said about my personality.

The second time I had the Tarot read was voluntarily. It was done by and old lady who still hangs around at a local coffee shop. I remember well that most important thing she told me was that I was born to be a leader.

And my third time was just a few ago at a convention. This was to be my most surprising reading of all because I felt bold enough to ask about my unique connection to Manson. And then she said, “you have a huge empathy for this person, and I think you have a chance of achieving great things with him. But you know he’s very strong.” And then she pulled the Strength Tarot Card. How true was that.

Just a few months ago, ever since Manson began touring a little innocent question popped into my head, “could we be actually psychically connected?” you know the kind of bond twins sometimes have when one feels the same thing as the other?

And so I began an intimate and personal journey. I even joined his My Space a few months ago to see if I could actually know how things were developing. But I have to admit it; it’s been exciting, painful and touching.

I really don’t know if he understands the Tarot that well, but I sure am willing to master it because it’s in my blood. My grandmother told me once that her own mother learned to read the cards thanks to a group of Hungarian ladies in exchange to offering them shelter. May I add the fact that I came across a highly devoted artist and writer; Mr. Alejandro Jodorowsky. His ways of handling divination have also inspired me, as well of most of his work.

Thanks to all these events I felt the need to focus and rediscover the symbolism in Manson’s work. While most people will believe that this is a devilish imagery, I see no real harm in analyzing the artwork he did for his 2000 album dubbed Holywood (in the shadow of the Valley of Death.

Mind you, although some have already done their research: see this is my own version.

Now, if you’re a newcomer to Marilyn Manson’s life let me give a crash course. Holywood was meant to be part of the Triptych, out of which Antichrist Superstar was the first album to be released in 1996, and Mechanical Animals in 1998. What do these have in common? Apparently a story, told backwards.

His third album released came out shortly after a series of accusations linked to the killings at Columbine in 1999 in Denver, Colorado. Not only did Manson’s work was considered like a possible mobile of the crimes but also threatening and the band was prevented from playing at the same city. Some people even thought that this album was the rebuttal as well as a brief interview done for “Bowling For Columbine”.

To this day I wonder if these events became sort of like a turning point in his career and personal life. Having the constant reference to the Occult in the Holywood brings me to these interesting findings that I’m about to describe. If by any chance you have a Rider-Waite Tarot as support it would be much better.

My original Tarot Spread as in the Celtic Cross

There are different interpretations of these cards and they’re all valid because that’s the way art is; it’s not absolute, it’s pretty everything that surrounds you.

There are 78 Tarot Cards, divided into the Major and Minor Arcana. Likewise, the Major Arcana or Trumps are divided into 22 cards, out of which 0 is the Fool, the beginner of the spiritual journey.

The Holywood artwork apparently lays down nine cards with no order; the Death, the High Priestess, Justice, the Hermit, the Hierophant, the Emperor, the Devil and the Magician. However the album cover resembles an image of Christ with no cross on the background. The only Tarot cards which bears similarities with this one is the Hanged Man. Therefore, in reality we would have a spread of ten cards.

The most common of spreads is the Celtic Cross. This also is related to the Tree of Life from the Kabbalah. It has ten sephirots or spheres that represent the essence of God and its path towards the Earth.

You may ask, why were these cards chosen? Or could have they come out of a real spread?

Well, here’s how I found out: the Hanged Man counts as the first, which refers to the Present, or his present self. The second; Death, which are challenges. The third, the High Priestess, or root causes. The fourth; reversed Justice or the past. The fifth; reversed Hermit or the goals. The sixth; the Fool, or the future. The seventh, the Emperor, or the contexts. The eighth; the Devil, or the Environment. The ninth; reversed Magician or the guidance. And finally the tenth , reversed Hierophant, or the outcome.

What does it mean all put together? Let’s find out:

The Hanged Man, the present. Keep in mind that this was probably read somewhere between 1999 and 2000, the crucial years. The man in the wooden T in the Tarot stands for while being in a calm, patient mood he awaits for a sacrifice. The beginning of what’s to come. The Death, the challenges. While this card is feared for its image in Manson’s case it would be more about changes, constant evolution; death and rebirth. Sometimes these changes are hard to bear. The High Priestess, the root causes. The High Priestess bears a crown in the shape of a crescent indicating a beginning of a process yet hidden and somewhat hermetic. The fourth, reversed Justice, the past, which would count in this case prejudice, false accusations. The fifth, reversed Hermit, the goal was caution, more willing to receive advice, immaturity. The sixth, the future, the Fool, or could apply errors, ignorance, reflection.

The seventh; the Emperor, the context that surrounds Manson. Since in numerology using his birth date number was 4 it matches the one of the Tarot Card. There is great strength, confidence, intellectual maturity and conviction. The eighth; the Devil, or the environment; violence, lust, vices, the primary human instincts. The ninth; reversed Magician or guidance, destructive, weak and confused. And the tenth; reversed Hierophant, persuadable, weak.

Still not quite getting it? Let me make it easier. Imagine if you were the reader and said these words, “ Manson, there will be a series of important and profound changes that you might find unpleasant at the beginning, (the Hanged Man) but that’s the way life is. We are in constant evolution and this is the time. The next years will bring challenges but also important opportunities to grow (Death). The past it seems to have scarred you due that your work is often misconceived, (Justice) just like many artists over the years, also obscuring your true self (the High Priestess), making it more difficult to figure you out. These accusations that you received recently are not to be overlooked. You will have to grow from what these people show you (the Hermit) so don’t shut the door on them, be ready to receive advice from close friends or family (the Fool).

Now on the other hand I see that you are very confident, you have a born leader, you take matters into your own hands and are very strong even in the hardest of times (the Emperor) But in order to complete your growth you must avoid giving into certain vices or wild mood swings, (the Devil) you tend to often get mad and impulsive for every little thing that goes wrong. So balance this with the Magician because this is the one that makes anything possible and though you have the gift to create amazing and lasting things sometimes you can also weaken and become so lethargic you can drag others to same level as you are in. So control yourself keep a good balance between your virtues and your flaws these coming years, otherwise you might give in easily to bad influences (the Hierophant). ”

So let’s compare this with what actually happened after this reading. Holywood still became a highly controversial album, but less louder than its brother Antichrist Superstar. Around 2002 Manson met Dita and continued a long relationship, along with the promotion of the Golden Age of Grotesque. Her sign was Libra and her ruling Tarot Card the Justice. Now, I knew very little about her back then but during the next few years about their relationship I went into a series of powerful and loud dreams, you know like recurring dreams. Most of the time when they were in the same dream there was tension, prejudice and distance, almost abandonment. I stop here to quote the reading above, “your work is often misconceived, just like many artists over the years, also obscuring your true self.”

I could swear sometimes I dreamt Manson coming to me for advice about his situation but he could never express it with the right words.

Finally it all came to the sad conclusion we all know in 2006 when he divorced. I always knew he was being tested and his companion had little to no tolerance. The day before I found out I had this dream where I met him after a very bumpy journey and explained to me we were just friends and then he hugged me tightly. When he left there was a blond girl sitting in a chair made of glass and then smashed it in front of him. I interpreted some months later and it literally meant that it was an evident sign of a rupture.

The next chapter is impressive, because shortly after this breakup he befriended and later became sentimentally involved with Evan. Mind you, her sign is Virgo and her ruling card the Hermit, the healer, remember this quote, “You will have to grow from what these people show you”, as in the original reading above.

These recent years have been all about the consequences from the lifestyle he’s carried over the years, probably involving drugs and other addictions and though it seems that this is the end of his musical career, still think about this phrase, “Now on the other hand I see that you are very confident, you have a born leader, you take matters into your own hands and are very strong even in the hardest of times.”

So was this a foretelling of the last ten years? The future’s not written, but we have the tools to shape it. Thanks to this spread now I know what can empower or weaken Manson.

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