<p>Is black magic the new black among the celebrity set? Playboy.com looks into the rumors that the occult is new big thing in Hollywood. </p>
Halloween is the biggest party holiday of the year, and you know some of the wildest, most extravagant Hollywood bashes will be going down this October 31. The hottest names in entertainment, the top actors, actresses and pop stars, will be trick-or-treating at fellow celebrities’ mansions, crashing horror movie premieres and donning their hooded robes and gathering in their secret basement temples to sacrifice to their dark gods.
Okay, we’re not positive about that last one. But from the beginnings of the entertainment industry in Hollywood in the early part of the 20th century right up to the present moment, there have been rumors about the star set being heavily involved with the occult. Google “occult Hollywood” and you’ll receive more than 2.8 million hits. To many, these endless web pages with 100 years of gossip are enough evidence that our major celebrities are part of some secret occult-Illuminati-magical elite, or even that occultism is on the uptick in Hollywoodland and is the new “in” fad. For example, earlier this year an article from one of Britain’s most popular newspapers, The Daily Mail, went viral with its claims that Jay-Z and Beyonce, among others, are all members of a “satanic sex cult” called Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.).
Is it so? Is black magic the new black? To be honest, there’s a part of us that wants to believe Amanda Bynes is spending her All Hallows’ Eve etching blood pentacles on the bodies of young, willing virgins with the Olsen twins, Oprah Winfrey, Steve from Blue’s Clues and Matt Damon, maybe naked and wearing masks, all assisting her.
But we’re grownups, and the logical, saner, parts of our mind knows this is ridiculous.
For a century, gossip rags have filled us in every time an actor or actress has had their tarot read, gone to a psychic or joined a kooky cult. But do you know who else is doing this kind of thing? Everybody! Let us use this hypothetical example: ”On the weekend my wife went to one of those storefront psychics and got a reading for a laugh, this morning I checked my horoscope and yesterday my mom called to tell me she got her tea leaves read.” Nothing too crazy, an example many of us could relate to, but stick a celebrity as the star of that little narrative and you have yourself a tabloid headline.
The supposed celebrity occult trend is nothing more than a handful of popular musicians tooling around with esoteric symbolism to look edgy, and/or some bored movie stars who’ve speculated about reincarnation with reporters (it seems that Halle Berry wants to come back as a lion). Throw these scant facts as fuel onto the always blazing-fire of Christian fundamentalism, conspiracy theories and all of us who get a thrill from celebs behaving badly and an imaginary trend is born.
We can’t address every rumor on the Internet, so let’s go back to the ones from a major media outlet, The Daily Mail, who informed us in that article we mentioned previously, that Beyonce is mixed up in major mojo. Now, the O.T.O. is a real occult order whose members gather together to perform ceremonies and rituals and to study topics ranging from tarot to astrology. We happen to have a source, a 15-year student of the occult, who joined O.T.O. in 2005. He spoke to us under the pseudonym Frater Najorts and answered a few questions about the esoteric and pop culture. He seemed doubtful that Hova and Bee have signed up to O.T.O. or any similar organization: “Jay-Z and Beyonce, in recent years, have borrowed some imagery for their videos and for their fashion line, but it’s no different than the ‘Satanic’ imagery borrowed by metal bands in the ’80s.”
The symbols being used by people like Jay Z et al aren’t even derived from Satanism. It’s just branding and an attempt to push some boundaries: Lady Gaga, Madonna and Ke$ha have also used imagery from groups like O.T.O. and the Freemasons to intrigue teenagers and generate a little buzz. If they piss off a few parents and some fundamentalist groups, all the better for some free press.
While some see the devil in everything from evolution to electric cars, Frater Najorts claims most occult groups and their symbols have nothing to do with devil worship. It’s true that most real occultists do elaborate rituals and try to invoke arcane powers — out-there stuff, maybe, but the devil doesn’t figure into it. Satanism is for 15-year-old goth virgins who watch too many horror movies.
Compared to some of the freaky religions that the Hollywood set have embraced (like a certain litigious science-fiction cult we won’t name), some of these esoteric groups seem like a logical, not to mention fun improvement.
Sadly, we have to conclude that occult sex magic is not rivaling gluten-free hot yoga as a major Hollywood fad.