On October 12, 2009, Dickie Peterson died.
Many of you reading this may not know Peterson. He was the singer and bass player for a band called Blue Cheer. Blue Cheer began in 1966 and played their last concert in December of 2008 (with the usual break ups, reforming, and new members). Peterson’s death also marked the end of the band.
Blue Cheer had only one hit song, a power-mad, volume turned up to 11, unmistakable version of Eddie Cochrane’s “Summertime Blues.”
If It’s Too Loud, You’re Too Old
Although based in playing the type of music known as the Blues, the band was known for being loudâ€“very loud. They were the loudest band I ever saw (although Lee Michaelsâ€”who now owns a small chain of shrimp restaurantsâ€”came ear-achingly close, and Uriah Heep at the Whiskey a Go Go was easily in 3rd place). If you complained about the volume you were basically too old to be listening to them. They wanted their music to be loud.
How loud? Loud enough so you couldn’t be talking to the person next to you about work or school. Loud enough so that you couldn’t order a drink at a club. Loud enough so that you couldn’t do anything but pay attention to the music. Why? As Peterson said in an interview given to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2007, “Our whole goal was to make music a physical experience as well as an audio experience.”
Magick and Intensity
Perhaps you have been to a public ritual where performers mumbled words from a script. Perhaps you performed a magickal ritual by reading something aloud for the first time, something you had written and which logically seemed like it would work. And yet, that public ritual had no impact on you and the magick wasn’t effective. There are many reasons why that might be so, but one of the primary reasons I regularly see for the failure of ritual and magick is lack of intensity.
In my experience, the more you put into a ritual of any kind, the more intensity you have, the more you have a likelihood of success. Be aware of the meaning of every word you say. Let it fill you with passion and intensity. Express that intensity in word and action. The more intensity, the better.
Once, I was helping a student who had flown from Jamaica to Los Angeles for training. She had a bright smile, was friendly and talkative. Her laugh could fill a room. But when doing a ritual, she spent so much time “in her head” thinking about itâ€”rather than letting it fill her with intensityâ€”that she sounded like a little mouse. She was not being effective.
I had her do all sorts of breathing and singing exercises. She did very well with them, but still no passion in the ritual. Finally, I had a desperate measure of an idea. I stood behind her as she did the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. As she came to the last syllable of the God name AGLA, without letting her know what I was going to do, I kicked her in the butt! The “LA” came shooting out of her soul, lighting up her aura and the circle. After wondering if I were crazy, she realized what had happened, she raise the intensity and passion of her rites, and her ritual work improved by leaps and bounds.
Power, passion, and intensity form the match that will light up the bonfire of your rituals and magick.
So for your next ritual, give this a try. Turn you passion up to 11. Bring up your intensity. Let the ritual be a mental, emotional, and physical experience.
After you do that next ritual with increased intensity and passion, share the results here.
[By the way, it would be remiss of me not to note that the loss of Peterson and the end of Blue Cheer took place on October 12, the anniversary of Aleister Crowley’s birth. Coincidence? Meaning?]