From unexpected drama to shocking performances, MTV’s 2009 Video Music Awards managed once again to raise eyebrows and get people talking. What most people missed, however, were the occult meanings encoded in the VMAs. The TV event was in fact a large scale occult ceremony, complete with an initiation, a prayer and even a blood sacrifice. We’ll look at the symbolism that appeared during the show.
MTV’s Video Music Awards have often incorporated dark and strange acts, containing some occult symbolism. This year’s version, however, outdid itself. The show left most people wondering what was wrong with Kanye West or trying compute the madness of Lady Gaga’s performance. The only way to understand the full meaning behind those performances is to look into esoteric teachings. The fact is that the whole awards show took the most common rituals of occult orders and re-enacted them in a show witnessed by the entire world.
This year’s VMA’s were very different from other awards shows. They focused on a very limited number of artists (Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga), while ignoring many others who were equally successful. The “chosen” artists became characters in the VMA’s ceremony and acted out different ritual dramas. This might sound totally crazy to the average MTV viewer but those acquainted with the practices of occult orders (such as Freemasonry) can decode the references to sacred rituals. There are numerous types of fraternities and rituals, from the most noble to the most infernal, and they have existed throughout History. The VMAs were decisively inspired by dark, sinister and even Satanic ceremonies. Let’s look at those rituals.
The High Priestess’ Words of Wisdom
Madonna, the music industry’s High Priestess, the revered “elder” of MTV, opens the show with a very solemn eulogy for Michael Jackson. She admitted never really knowing or “connecting” with him, but she was still chosen to pay him tribute. Madonna is a well known and publicized adept of the Kaballah, the esoteric school of Judaism which is studied in most occult orders. Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok explained how she uses (or abuses) Kaballah symbolism in her music:
“I discovered that Madonna’s famous dabbling with sacred Jewish mysticism has taken an interesting turn. In her latest music video for the theme song of a new James Bond movie, the “material girl” of old is transforming herself into a “Kabbalah girl.” Aside from the traditional Madonna blend of music and sensuality, in this video we see Madonna has a Holy Name of G-d tattooed onto her right shoulder. Tattooing, mind you, is a practice forbidden under Torah Law, all the more so abhorred by the Kabbalah. Granted the tattoo may not be real or only temporary but nonetheless, any expression of performing a forbidden act is itself forbidden and inexcusable. Unfortunately, Madonna’s abuse of Kabbalah and traditional Torah Judaism does not stop here.
Later in the video we see Madonna winding leather straps around her left arm in the exact same format and style as holy tefillin are worn by religious Jewish men. Tefillin consist of a small leather box containing scared parchments. These are then strapped to one’s left biceps, and the strap is wound down the left arm and around the hand. Granted Madonna did not go so far as to defame the tefillin boxes themselves. Yet, it is quite clear that the wrapping of the straps around her arm is done in orthodox Torah style. This act of hers is pure sacrilege.”
-Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok, Madonna’s Kabbalah – Not Kosher http://www.koshertorah.com/PDF/madonna%20kabbalah.pdf
Madonna’s tribute focused on the fact that MJ was “otherworldly” and “a king” but she insisted on the fact that he was also a human being. It was wisdom that could only be imparted by the High Priestess. Members of the audience bowed their heads and meditated on her words. They had a deep Kabbalistic resonance. The speech was followed by a video tribute to Jackson, beginning oddly with ‘Thriller’ and displaying the face of MJ as a decaying zombie, risen from the dead, on a huge screen. We then hear Price’s verse in the song saying:
“Darkness falls across the land
The midnite hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize yawls neighbourhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpses shell
The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzy ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller”
It is only fitting that MJ’s greatest was included in his tribute, but this did seem a rather gruesome way to start a posthumous tribute. Someone somewhere made some odd choices, but this somehow fitted the “vibe” of the rest of the show.
Taylor Swift’s Initiation
Taylor Swift wins the “Best Female Video” award and goes up on stage to give her thank yous. Kanye West pops out of nowhere, taking the mic from her hand, and informs her that Beyonce has “one of the best videos of all time“. This scene has caused much controversy and has earned Kanye the title of “Douchebag of the year” plus the honor of being called a “jackass” by the President of the United States. I might shock some people by saying this… but this “unexpected” event was… STAGED! There I said it. Did you ever watch a crappy reality show and had the gut feeling that the whole thing was scripted? Well, I’ve got an overload of that feeling while watching this scene. None of the people involved (not even Beyonce making her “I can’t believe this is happening” face) are good actors. Furthermore, I’ve been following Kanye’s career since his beginnings and I’ve retained one important fact about him: the only thing Kanye West cares about, is Kanye West. So if he had to throw a hissy fit about something, it would have been about him not winning. Not Beyonce. Him.
This scene is, in fact, Taylor Swift’s initiation into what I call “The Circle of Chosen Artists”. The pupil is humiliated in front of her peers and told that she is not worthy to be on the same stage as Beyonce, the queen of the ceremony. Almost all groups, fraternities and gangs carry out an initiation process to test the recruit’s character, strength, and worth. Swift’s ordeal was to have Kanye ruin her first award ever and to be told that she didn’t deserve this recognition. The rapper is known for bitching during award shows so he was the perfect candidate to make it all seem “unexpected”.
Jack Black comes out dressed as a heavy metal guy on steroids to promote a video game. At one point he asks the audience to put their devil horns in the air and the proceeds to pray to the “dark lord Satan”. The whole thing is light-hearted and comical but I don’t see any other way a prayer to Satan can be inserted into a primetime show without getting a truckload of complaints from “concerned parents”. The scene starts off semi-funny but Jack Black finishes off on a more serious note by saying: “I ask you to grant tonight’s nominees with continued success in the music industry“. This last phrase actually reveals a dark truth about the entertainment business.
So the net result of this scene is this: everybody threw up their “devil horns” hand sign, then took each other’s hands and prayed to Satan. This piece of pre-rehearsed comedy might have been an insignificant skit in another show. But in the context of this one, with its many recreations of occult rituals, the skit takes on a whole other, sinister meaning.
The Blood Sacrifice
Lady Gaga’s performance was hailed as “brilliant” by many music fans. If you, however, ask them what it symbolizes, their expression becomes questioning. Here’s what Gaga said about her performance during an interview at gagadaily.com
“Do you think it will be one of those defining moments people will remember at the VMAs?”
“I know it will. I sort of have this philosophy about things: there’s never a reason to do something unless it’s going to be memorable, unless it’s going to change things, unless it’s going to inspire a movement. With the song and with the performance, I hope to say something very grave about fame and the price of it.”
“Something grave? What?”
“You’ll have to see.”
“What are you going to wear? “
“I would say that the fashion for the performance is a representation of the most stoic and memorable martyrs of fame in history. It’s intended to be an iconic image that represents people. I think after watching the performance and maybe studying it after you watch it on YouTube, you’ll see the references and the symbols come through.”
The setting for the performance is very symbolic. Gaga performs in a temple or maybe an aristocratic mansion, complete with columns, chandeliers, and paintings. Occult rituals, mind control experiments and even human sacrifices have constantly been rumored to take place in those kinds of settings. One feature I cannot ignore is the presence of two massive pillars beneath an arch.
They are unmistakable Masonic symbols, as depicted on this lithograph:
This obvious reference to Freemasonry hints to the occult and ritualistic aspect of Gaga’s performance. Masons are known to carry out ritual dramas in their lodges; live re-enactments of allegorical stories. Gaga’s performance symbolizes her rise to fame and the sacrifice she had to make in order to succeed.
When the bloody Gaga is lifted into the air, an eerie light comes out from between the pillars and the dancers lift their arms in the air in praise. Many ancient religions carried out ritual sacrifices to please the gods. Blood sacrifices have also been viewed by black magicians as the ultimate way to collect spiritual energy. The final scene of the performance conveys the presence of this mysterious “force” after a sacrifice.
Right after her performance, Gaga appears dressed all in red, with her face completely covered in red. She is basically a walking, talking blood sacrifice. It represents the aftermath of fame, the hellish life that follows the sacrifice, the selling of the soul for success in the music industry.
Pink’s Masonic Initiation
There is no way a Mason could watch this performance without recalling his initiation into the First Degree. Here’s a description by Mark Stavish:
“The candidate for initiation is stripped of all material possessions and dressed in a strange and peculiar garb (…). This includes a blindfold and a length of rope called a cable tow.”
“The blindfold used represents secrecy, darkness and ignorance as well as trust. The candidate is led into the lodge room for initiation but is not able to see what is happening. He is bound about the waist and arm with the cable tow.”
-Mark Stavish, Freemasonry: Rituals, Symbols and History of the Secret Society
Pink is blindfolded and bound with ropes. Her costume exposes her left breast, as is the case with Masonic initiates. Instead of having her left leg exposed, Pink’s costume bears a diamond pattern which is very reminiscent of the floors in Masonic lodges.
Pink’s performance was a dizzying display of acrobatics which undoubtedly left her (and the viewers) totally disoriented. This is also a feature of Freemasonry’s First Degree initiation:
“He is then blindfolded and a cord in the form of a noose is passed round his neck. At this point the novice is entering the marginal stage, associated with ordeals; he cannot see, his sense of direction has been confused and he has been dressed like a victim for execution.”
-J.S. La Fontaine, Initiation – Ritual Drama and secret knowledge across the world
Pink’s performance was yet another blatant reference to ritual dramas in occult orders.
Taylor Swift’s Acceptance into the Order
After Swift’s public humiliation, Beyonce, the queen of the ceremony, calls her up on stage to let her “have her moment”. She appears from backstage (as if awaiting her cue) in a red dress which is strikingly similar to Beyonce’s. A reader of this site has noticed that at the moment the two singers hug, a strange phrase appears on the screen behind them saying “RDFO IL 40 PRO DEL ATO”. I have no idea what that means, but it was there. If you solve this enigma, be sure to post it in the comments. **Editor’s note** Pretty sure it means “Ilford Delta Pro film”.
Taylor Swift being called on stage represents the fact that she has now been accepted as an equal to Beyonce and has become one of the “chosen ones”. The matching dresses also convey this sense of belonging to a new group. She has “passed the test” – the ordeal of being humiliated – and she can now reap the rewards of being an insider.
Award ceremonies like the VMAs define and crystallize the pop culture of an era. They consecrate the chosen artists while leaving the others dwelling in the shadows of anonymity. As shown above, the whole show was heavily permeated with occult symbolism, primarily focusing on the “initiation” aspect of it. Why is MTV exposing young people (who know nothing about occultism) to such rituals? Is there a subliminal effect on the viewers? Are we educating the new generation to accept these symbols as part of popular culture? There is definitely a second layer of interpretation in many of MTV’s products. To decode the symbols is to understand the inner-workings of the entertainment industry.