On the back cover of the printed edition of The Prodigal Band Trilogy is stated: “Take a fictional ‘road trip’ on a mystical mystery and spiritual tour as a fictional six-member 80s and 90s rock and roll band fashioned after the Beatles…”
The Beatles. That, folks, is why I had to make the notion of new age spirituality such a dominant theme of this trilogy. While all of the Beatles took part in the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement of India’s Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for a relatively short period of time, the Maharishi only influenced the Beatles toward looking into new age ideas as they never joined this religion or cult. Others that hung out with the Maharishi included various rockers while in San Francisco–the hippie days–and on this Wikipedia site is a picture of this Maharishi with various well known rockers. And then it is a fact that George Harrison was actually a member of the Hare Krishna cult from the late 60s onward and that he wrote a song dedicated to this Lord Krishna dude, “My Sweet Lord,” for Krishna is referred to as Lord Krishna. This Hare Krishna cult was founded by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Swami? Now folks, I had no idea that the founder of the cult that most heavily influenced the “good vs. evil” notion of my trilogy had the title of ‘swami’ which is the title of a teacher within Hinduism. When I created my evil ‘Swami Negran’ character I had no idea of this–just one of several ‘coincidences’ that are rife in my books.
And, in fact, the cult mentioned in my trilogy, the Church of the Circle of Unity, while not exactly based on the Krishna cult religion-wise, is based on the cult in terms of how its members are treated. Pop culture celebrities were attracted to TM (the Beatles and other rockers and celebrities), Scientology (Tom Cruise, the ‘Celebrity Center’ in LA, Leah Ramini–who exposed this evil religion a few years ago–John Travolta, etc.), the various rockers that are said to have promoted ‘devil worship’ (Led Zeppelin? See what I wrote about their song “Stairway to Heaven” below) and perhaps the Process Church, founded by Scientology follower Robert DeGrimston, which may have included various rockers as well. So how were members treated? While the celebrities in these cults were and are treated like royalty–to cajole them out of their money no doubt–ordinary members were and likely are still treated like garbage. A friend of mine I met in the 90s was a member of the Hare Krishna cult and he was treated very abusively in my opinion: forced to work washing dishes and other work for up to 16 hours a day with virtually no pay, forced to site the ‘mantra’ many times a day, little sleep, living in crowded conditions, forced to recruit others. He was in the cult for several years before finally leaving… he just couldn’t handle the slave-like conditions any longer.
I do not mention this kind of abuse of non-celebrities in my novels, but I do make the ‘god-like’ status of my fictional rock star celebrities in the novels a big deal. These real celebrities which influenced my novels tend to carry out the cult agenda and are used for recruiting purposes. How many folks would have joined the Hare Krishna cult if not for George Harrison being one of its chief members? That the Beatles are considered the greatest band in rock history is mostly due to the Fab Four’s influence, and I am sure my friend joined the cult because he just happened to like George Harrison. (Note: I am not criticizing George Harrison here. He had a right to join whatever group he wanted to, like anyone else. But he was clearly used by this cult for recruiting purposes, and the cult did extract quite a bit of money from Harrison.)
Further, not only was the fictional band Sound Unltd used to recruit celebrities and their fans as well into the Swami cult, but primarily they were used to cause their fans to worship the evil satanic ‘god’ Corion, and were used to ‘drain the souls’ of their followers using the red crystal amulets Swami Negran gave them when they joined the cult. And, of course, the crystals also drained the souls of the band members.
Note: the following facts I am about to mention can be verified by doing the research oneself, so I am not going to post all the links here; there are too many! I tend to use Wikipedia.
These days, VMA, Grammy and other award shows as well as album covers and posters tend to feature supposedly satanic symbology, such as the almost universal ‘one-eye sign’ (associated with ‘the Illuminati’), Baphomet horns, upside-down crosses, upside-down five-pointed stars, checkered floors (Freemasonry), certain hand-signals, Crowley-esque symbols from ancient religions, etc. While rock albums from the 60s through the 90s featured some of these symbols, and while some of the songs seemed to offer ‘sympathy’ to the devil and such, open-flat-out Satanism in rock or other music didn’t really get going until very recent times, beginning (IMHO) with open Satanist Marilyn Manson, who, among other things, would tear up Bibles during gigs. Videos verify this. And today at award shows and primarily rap and hip-hop concerts (think of Jay-Z’s “diamond” hand sign he wants his fans to put up…see videos verifying this), this open devil worship is much worse than it used to be. But that’s my opinion. And my opinion did influence this trilogy, but so have facts about popular culture. One can do more research on this a site I linked to in the previous post, Vigilant Citizen.
Before I get to a couple of snippets let me state why I believe Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” song relates to the passages in Isaiah 14 regarding Lucifer. Isaiah 14:12 says: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” Isaiah 14:13 says, “For thou has said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven…” By how? A ‘stairway’? Isaiah 14:14 then backs up that claim: “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.” Meaning God. Along with two other parts of these verses from the King James Bible, this makes up what some Bible scholars call the “five ‘I wills’ of Lucifer.” I do not have the lyric to this song, but the notion that the being this song is about wants to ascend into heaven by stairway could be in reference to Lucifer, aka Satan. Now I have no verbal verification on hand that the members of Led Zeppelin were devil worshipers, but its founder, Jimmy Page, was a follower (by his own words) of Aleister Crowley and he did buy the Boleskine estate on Loch Ness that had been one of Crowley’s homes. As with many rockers of that era that many claimed to be devil worshipers, tragedy did affect the group: Robert Plant lost his young child to some disease or disorder (I don’t remember the exact cause) and drummer John Bonham died, supposedly by OD. But besides these points, Led Zeppelin was also a major influence for this trilogy.
As were the Rolling Stones to some extent. Mick Jagger and Keith Richard wrote the song “Sympathy for the Devil,” and both had some kind of role in Kenneth Anger’s satanic film, “Lucifer Rising.” And Jagger’s girlfriend Marianne Faithfull actually played an acting role in the movie. And their founder, Brian Jones, supposedly drowned himself in his swimming pool in the summer of 1969.
Finally, even avowed devil worshiper Marilyn Manson hit hard times. When the Columbine school shooting massacre was investigated, and it was learned that the two killers were Manson music fans, Marilyn Manson’s music career took a major nose-dive.
Now, on to the snippets.
The first snippet from Chapter Eight of Battle of the Band takes place in the summer of 1994 while the sextet is both preparing to perform at the so-called ‘World Unity Day’ concert in San Antonio, Texas. This takes place aboard their private jet at the city’s airport. Fellow cult member actor Banner suggests to them that they perform a song they wrote for Banner’s World Community Artist Foundation, and they agree to do the song as their evil red crystals given to them by Swami glow.
Actor Neville Banner had a proposition for Erik and Jack the night before the group performed their final show in San Antonio, Texas. The three stood just inside a sleeping cabin. “You know that your gig tomorrow night coincides with World Unity Day. The World Community Artists Foundation came up with that, eh, along with the World Youth Cultural Council. And it’s really cool that this city is blessed with such a unity of cultures. It would be sooo excellent if you would dedicate the gig to World Unity Day. I mean, you both wrote the Foundation’s new theme song, ‘A Circle of Unity.’ Well, what do you think?”
The singer and guitarist, both wearing their blood-red crystals, answered at the same time, “Absolutely.”
In the second snippet at the concert, both the song, including a prayer to the cult god ‘Lord Corion,’ and the glowing crystals mesmerize the audience. With the crystals gathering souls from the fans for Corion’s feast, a demon announces, ‘the six are ready.’
Before the concert simulcast began, the disc jockey told listeners over the radio, “One thing is for sure. Tonight’s concert audience thinks Sound Unltd are their spokesmen, and, according to CounterCulture magazine, so do a large percentage of America’s youth. I mean, those guys really know how to move teenagers. They have already sold nearly three-hundred million records and tapes since 1988, won seven Music awards, and have sold out every concert since 1989. And I know for a fact that, because Sound Unltd follows the cult of Swami Negran’s Circle of Unity, teenage membership in that religion has grown by leaps and bounds. Parent groups across the country are upset about reports of brainwashing and Satanic and Corionic blood-rituals, but the Swami cult grows and grows. And credit is usually given to our performers tonight.”
Swami Negran chose to listen to that program. “The guy on the radio,” he told Erik and Keith as they applied each other’s make-up, “said the fans here think you guys are their spokesmen.”
Keith said arrogantly, “Well, mystic man, that’s because we are. That’s our chosen mission in life. Ain’t that why you love us so damned much?”
Erik added with scorn. “Yeh, man, ain’t you ever noticed just how much everyone wants a piece of us? We’re it! The ultimate in greatness and glory. Ever since the end of that stupid ban, we’ve been world leaders. I mean, presidents and prime ministers have feted us, eh? We’re only giving our fans what they expect. The best in global entertainment.”
And so the rock juggernaut played.
We’re part of a circle of unity of love.
We all shine so brightly in our souls from above.
So join our global circle and love to inspire
A unity of all youth
In a world of passionate fire.
Erik then called out, “Let’s pray for world peace.”
As the muted music played, the singer actually led the multitude in a short prayer for peace adopted by the Foundation. Most fans didn’t know it, but the prayer was derived from ancient runes to the god Corion.
“We affirm to you, oh Lord, our desire for love and an end to wars. A beginning for nature’s healing touch. Peace for one, peace for all, peace to wrap the world in safety and universal love. Amen.”
The song then continued until the last chorus, sung by the six together at the center-stage microphones. With hands united, they raised their arms in glory to the rotating planet image and chanted a Corion chant which sounded like gibberish. As their fans rose in a crescendo of cheers and waves, red crystals glowed hot red, encasing the band in a miracle of aura assimilation. A giant fiery luminous egg stood at center stage.
Whole blocks of fans saw and began chanting as their Swami taught them. “Corion! Corion! Novordopax! Tricameron!”
Soon, more in the audience chanted it. The luminous egg glowed brighter and brighter, grew larger and larger, until it enveloped the sea of fans.
The Demons watched from above. “Our six are ready,” Gold Demon cackled. “They are delivering many souls to our cause.”
A low voice bellowed, “Right on schedule. So be it!”
In the third snippet is told a consequence of the glowing of the evil crystals worn by the band.
And, as their Lord wished, three young men who had attended the World Unity concert were arrested in San Antonio July 19 for “…bashing in the heads of two four-year-old boys with lead pipes in a rash of unprovoked violence in the Alamo City the past few days.”
The San Antonio newspaper report shocked many.
The final snippet from Chapter Ten of Battle of the Band tells of a similar experience correlating Sound Unltd’s membership in Swami’s Church of the Circle of Unity new age cult to not only a world-wide gathering of their fans into this cult, but of another negative consequence of cult membership and the effect of the glowing crystals on their fans. The good-spirit being called ‘the witch of the Hovels,’ who is unseen by all except those who are allowed to see and hear her (by the forces of Good), is in front of a shop television while outside the shop in the band’s home city of Walltown. As she is watching the TV, the band are creating videos in the ruins of the Hovels. She is watching a broadcast on Swami Negran’s growing cult and his new ‘University of Unity’ near Richmont, California, a prominent fictional Bay Area city within the trilogy.
February 8, 1996
Carrying her scars of time and misfortune, the Witch of the Hovels stood at a shop window and watched an afternoon television documentary. She saw the face of Swami Negran appear for a few seconds. “That son of The Demons!” she whispered. “He is here now. I feel his presence.”
A commentator stood on the grounds of Negran’s newly completed University of Unity. “It is here that Swami Negran teaches his missionary and administrative followers for what has shaped up as the largest recruiting job since the time of Christ.”
Then Swami appeared at a fountain statue of The Corionic Cross. “My main purpose is to bring the teachings of Corion into this rapidly uniting globe. We must prepare for his arrival when a World Community is upon us, when the peoples of this world will worship Corion, the god of light born in darkness, most cherished son of Almighty Nature.”
“Of Satan, you mean, unholy lout!” The old woman turned to spit on the sidewalk.
“Fundamentalist religious leaders, however, claim the Circle of Unity is really a front organization for Satanism,” the commentator said.
The camera switched to an American evangelical preacher. “Corionic concepts are, in fact, the precepts of Satan worship that go back several hundred years to the various Druidic clans which inhabited the Craggy Mountains of Wales and the Scottish Highlands. The main danger today is with young people who follow these beliefs in the music of their rock star idols. I’ve spoken to several youngsters who now attend my services. They’ve told me how they sensed that parts of their inner beings were taken out of their bodies during Sound Unltd concerts. Some of these youths committed acts of violence shortly thereafter.”
A boy named Bobby told the listening audience, “This happened in 1993 at a concert in Richmont. They all had these crystals on, and the crystals glowed bright red. That’s when I felt like part of my soul was being lifted up, out of me. I became a rabid follower of Swami and Corion after that, until I felt I had nothing left but my physical being. I couldn’t remember a lot of my past. I felt like I could do anything. Any drug, any sex, any act at all. I partied all the time, and I stole and cheated to live. When I finally got out of jail, and one of the cons there set me straight, I realized Corion was really the devil.”
Swami answered the charges. “Yes, yes, former followers say all sorts of things go on in my Churches, but so many others, who have been my students for far longer, have had uplifting, not terrible, experiences.”
World Community Artists Foundation Chairman Neville Banner countered Bobby’s allegations. “People are turning to The Circle of Unity precisely because they are seeking more personal power and spiritual guidance traditional religions cannot provide in our global village. Corion followers do in fact have greater awareness of their enlightened beings. They aren’t devil worshipers. It’s not Satanism that has made Sound Unltd so successful. Erik Manning’s one of my closest friends. He’s anything but a Satanist. He just has a lot of charisma and talent. I don’t see him having problems as some of Swami’s ex-followers do.”
“Then you haven’t seen anything yet!” the old woman snapped. She slowly walked down the street toward loud, raucous music being played on a video sound set in an alley in a district of Walltown where, eight-hundred-years before, she heard the last, fatal, verse of The Demons’ song.
There are many more snippets I could have included but I figure this post is already long enough! If the reader is interested in how new age ideas can influence pop culture artists within fiction, there are many more events within the trilogy, and you can buy the trilogy at the Book Store from various online platforms, e-book and print book.
The Prodigal Band Trilogy © 2019 by Deborah Lagarde, Battle of the Band © 1996 by Deborah Lagarde, The Prophesied Band © 1998 by Deborah Lagarde and The Prodigal Band © 2018 by Deborah Lagarde. Permission needed to copy any materials off this page.