Wednesday, March 16, 2016


There was nothing shocking or revolutionary when Lana Del Rey released her single and the video for the song ''Freak''.  

The video is not a surprise as it follows the usual aesthetics of her other videos-another visual bliss with some dark undertones, just as the song itself. The elements of the song and the video recall the trippy hippie era of the 60’s , and the main charming character (Father John Misty) looking much alike Jim Morrison, adds more to that psychedelic vibe. It all ends with a beautiful sequence accompanied by classic masterpiece ''Clair de lune''.

Almost romantic until the comments on the youtube channel started associating it with a not so romantic story: it has a certain cult-note, as if the main character was some kind of a charismatic cult leader. More specifically, Jim Jones. What adds to this theory are specific symbolic rituals in the video such as Lana drinking red liquor.

''cult'', noun.

1. a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object.
2. a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous
3. a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much

The story about the infamous cult: 

Jim Jones was best known as the cult leader of the Peoples Temple who led more than 900 followers in a mass suicide via cyanide-laced punch known as the Jonestown Massacre.

Jones began his own religious quest around the age of 10.
He was a strong student, especially in public speaking.
He started Indiana University, married Marceline after his first term, and the couple eventually adopted several children.

After years of struggling to find his way, Jones announced that he was entering the ministry in 1952. He got a job as a student pastor at the Somerset Methodist Church.
By the following year, Jones was making a reputation for himself in the state as a healer and evangelist. 
Jones formed the Wings of Deliverance church in 1955. The church soon became known as the Peoples Temple. 

By the early 1970s, Jones had expanded his recruitment efforts. He started preaching in San Francisco, opening up a branch of his church there.
With his trademark dark glasses, suits and slicked-back black hair, Jones was an impressive figure at the pulpit. His fiery rhetoric and remarkable "healings" continued to draw new members into the fold. Not only did they fall for his talk of a better life, many surrendered what they had to Jones. What they thought was for the common good actually ended up in Jones's pocket.

As part of his teachings, Jones discouraged sex and romantic relationships. He, on the other hand, had several adulterous relationships, including one with a church administrator, Carolyn Layton, with whom he had a son. 

In 1974, Jones bought land in Guyana to develop into a new home for himself and his followers. He had become increasingly paranoid and disturbed by this time and soon moved to the Peoples Temple compound there with about 1,000 people. 
The compound was known as Jonestown, and it wasn't any tropical paradise. Jones ran the site like a prison camp. His followers received little food and weren't allowed to leave. Armed guards stood at the compound's perimeter. Jones often preached over the loudspeaker system at Jonestown. 

Fearful of a plot against him, he started conducting suicide drills. His followers were woken up in the middle of the night. They would receive a cup with a red liquid that they were told contained poison, which they were ordered to drink. After 45 minutes or so, the members were told that they were not going to die, that they had just passed a loyalty test. In 1977, Jones threatened mass suicide to force the Guyanese government from taking action against him.

In 1978, Ryan toured Jonestown with a television crew in tow. He invited anyone who wanted to leave the compound to come with him, but his rescue operation did not go as planned. There they were attacked by Peoples Temple gunmen sent by Jones. By the time the shooting stopped, there were five people dead, including Congressman Ryan.
Meanwhile back at Jonestown, Jones launched what he called his "revolutionary suicide" campaign. Cyanide and Valium were mixed into a batch of powdered drink mix to make a toxic punch, and cups of this lethal beverage were distributed to the members. The first to die were the children and those who refused to drink were forced to by armed guards. In all, more than 900 people died at Jonestown—276 of them were children.
Jones, on the other hand, chose a different way out. Surrounded by his inner circle, he either shot himself or was shot in the head. He was later found on the floor of the Jonestown pavilion, the camp's main gathering area, with his wife Marceline, nurse Annie Moore, and other top group members.

The phases in the phenomena of cult:
-initial excitement, spiritual ‘’high’’
-collective and individual brainwashing
-disappearance of the self, delusion, mental instability

Cult leaders appear to be very intelligent, manipulative and charismatic, as they know how to attract their followers by seducing them from the highest form (emotional, intellectual) to the lowest form (sexual, extortion). They gain power and energy in such ways that the followers become not only empty, but addicted to the cult.

This also happens in many forms in various toxic relationships, as in certain subcultures. The video ''Freak'' portrays it perfectly, as we watch how Lana goes from paradise to hell and vice versa, only to find the ultimate peace in death. 

Just one dreamy video maybe, but the cults were a real thing, and still are today. Dangerous, enigmatic and interesting from the socio logic, psycho logic and mystical point of view. The cult must be a social circle closed to public, so that their members believe that they are special, the chosen ones. That makes the cults almost impossible to the disclose and research, which adds to their mystical incidence.

Lana Del Rey has shown her artistic interest in mystics more than once, and even if  her art should be interpreted in a completely different way, there is obviously something special to it when it affects so many people on many different levels. Maybe there's an idea for some new cult, right here. Or maybe better not.

Lana Del Rey: Trust no one/Paradise


Love, Invitation to Inspiration

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