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Summoning Meaning: Evangelicals, Hipsters, and the Symbology of the Occult in America

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A Semiotic Analysis of cultural symbolism presented in Paris in June, 2015, at Semiofest - the commercial semiotics conference.

Author: Sarah Jane Johnson of Athena Brand Wisdom

Publicado en: Empresariales
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Summoning Meaning: Evangelicals, Hipsters, and the Symbology of the Occult in America

  1. 1. SUMMONING MEANING EVANGELICALS, HIPSTERS, AND THE SYMBOLOGY OF THE OCCULT IN AMERICA
  2. 2. • Occult: “kept secret, esoteric, recondite, mysterious, beyond the range of ordinary knowledge, involving the supernatural, mystical, magical.” 2 Source: OED Occult: “Kept secret, esoteric, recondite, mysterious, beyond the range of ordinary knowledge, involving the supernatural, mystical, magical.”
  3. 3. 3 “Occultists seek the "Light in the Darkness" and the Cause of causes; what is REALLY happening as opposed to what you are told is happening, and to see the world without perspective (Gnosis).” • 3 Source: urbandictionary.com
  4. 4. Fringe Evangelicals 4 Millennial Hipsters TWO GROUPS IN OPPOSITION
  5. 5. UNITED BY COMMON ANXIETIES Economic UNCERTAINTY DISTRUST of mainstream institutions ALIENATION from post-industrial consumer capitalism BREAKDOWN of the american dream SENSE of a world spinning out of control 5
  6. 6. BOTH SEE THE OCCULT AS A SOURCE OF POWER For Fringe Evangelicals, naming and identifying is a means of subduing it, and of signalling their separation from society’s dominant values and forces For Millennial Hipsters, leveraging it is a means of accessing their own spiritual power, and of signalling their separation from society’s dominant values and forces 6
  7. 7. BUT FIRST, SOME BACKGROUND 7 Fringe Evangelicals’ obsession with the Occult derives from a belief that Modern Society is secretly controlled by “The Illuminati.” Source: Wikipedia
  8. 8. Freemasonry Influenced America’s Founding Fathers THE TRUTH BEHIND THE FEAR 8
  9. 9. Freemasonry was a driver in America’s Founding Belief in Religious Tolerance 9 Source: Mitch Horowittz, author of Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped our Nation v THE TRUTH BEHIND THE FEAR
  10. 10. FREEMASONRY MAKES CONSCIOUS AND DELIBERATE USE OF SYMBOLISM 10 Source: Freemason Grand Lodge Website “It is a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.”
  11. 11. TYPICAL OCCULT SYMBOLS PYRAMIDS TORCHES ALL-SEEING EYES SUN MOON STARS PENTAGRAMS CIRCLES GODDESSES Occult symbols come from a range of traditions: EGYPTIAN, CELTIC, DRUIDIC, NATIVE AMERICAN, ANCIENT GREEK 11
  12. 12. 12 OCCULT IMAGERY IS WOVEN INTO THE FABRIC OF AMERICAN SYMBOLISM Circle of stars suggests eternity Eye on the Pyramid. “God Smiles on Our New Order of the Ages." Torch, Star Tiara, Goddess- like figure
  13. 13. 13 FOR FRINGE EVANGELICALS, AMERICA’S FREE-THINKING ROOTS ARE A SIGN OF SATANIC CONSPIRACY 13 “Since 1776, our leadership (U.S. Government) has been consistently moving us toward the Luciferic New World Order. This leadership has always been working through Secret Societies, misleading us as to their true intentions.”
  14. 14. 14 AMERICA IS SEEN AS A LOST, DAMNED NATION. 14 “America no longer has God’s blessing. What we have is the leftover vapor trail of God’s blessing on America from previous generations, but we are too stupefied to be able to discern the difference. We’ve become a nation of braying goats eating garbage where there used to be sheep following a Shepherd, and drinking from pools of living waters.” Source: exposingsatanism.org
  15. 15. 15 Source: exposingsatanism.org AND ITS MASONIC ROOTS ARE SEEN AS THE GUIDING FORCE BEHIND AMERICA’S PERCEIVED CURRENT MORAL DECAY. “We are seeing an unprecedented rise in demonic symbols and signs because the Wicked One is about to take the stage. Everywhere you look, there he is. The All- Seeing Eye Of Horus staring back at you from pop soda cans, sporting equipment, movies, television, radio, clothing. Even on the very dollar bill in your pocket. Our money says “In God We Trust”, and you know that’s not true. It’s not even close to true. The things that America truly trusts in – its power, might and wealth – are the very things that the bible says is a witness against us in these end times.
  16. 16. 16 AMERICA ITSELF IS THEREFORE SEEN AS SATANIC 16
  17. 17. 17 FRINGE EVANGELICALS FEVERISHLY LABEL AND ANALYZE OCCULT MANIFESTATIONS IN U.S. GOVERNMENT SYMBOLISM TO PROVE ITS CORRUPTION AND INIQUITY
  18. 18. LINKED TO THIS CONSPIRACY THEORY IS A PREOCCUPATION WITH HIDDEN OCCULT AND SATANIC SYMBOLISM IN CORPORATE MESSAGING 18 “Studies have reported that an average person is exposed to about a thousand logos a day. Few people however ponder on the symbolic meaning of these marketing tools and their occult origins. Logos are one of the results of extensive studies (funded by the Rockefeller’s “Chicago School”) in cognitive sciences, neuropsychology and biology. Those studies constitute the core of “marketing”, a heavily funded field which keeps its findings totally secret from the general public. Why are the findings secret? Well, if you knew why marketing worked on you, you wouldn’t fall for it anymore. The huge visibility of corporate logos is also an opportunity for the elite to showcase their beliefs and their power. The same way occult symbols are inserted on buildings and sites they are hidden in plain view on corporate logos.”
  19. 19. 19 CORPORATE LOGOS ARE SCRUTINIZED FOR SECRET PATTERNS AND HIDDEN SYMBOLS CONVEYING SATANIC, OCCULT OR ZIONIST MESSAGES. 19
  20. 20. 20 EVEN “CHRISTIAN ROCK” IS NOT EXEMPT 20 “The following so- called “Christian” singers and bands are OF THE DEVIL. They have sold their souls for worldly fame, fortune and success.”
  21. 21. 21 WHILE FRINGE EVANGELICALS FEAR THE OCCULT, SOME HIPSTER MILLENNIALS EMBRACE IT. Social and Economic forces undermining sense of personal control Alienation from Organized religion Growing interest in ecology and nature Seeking unmediated spirituality and a sense of wonder and enchantment in a hyper-rationalized world Youthful resentment of “The Establishment” and desire to shock
  22. 22. 22 UNCERTAINTY DRIVES NIHILISM: POPULARITY OF “UNDEAD” ENTERTAINMENT
  23. 23. 23 SEEKING KNOWLEDGE OF THE FUTURE FOR CONTROL OF THE PRESENT
  24. 24. 24 ALIENATION AND YEARNING FOR MEANING: IRONIC EVOCATIONS OF PARANORMAL
  25. 25. 25 UNMEDIATED PAGAN SPIRITUALITY: RECONNECTING WITH NATURE AND ANCIENT WISDOM
  26. 26. 26 WICCAN WISDOM Source: Wiccan Pamela J. Grossman “Honoring the earth and our bodies; shifting away from mass- market medicines and agri-business toward natural healing and whole foods; sharing our resources rather than focusing on mere accumulation of goods; collaborating and communicating more openly; helping to elevate women and girls to equality all over the world: these are all grand workings of feminine magic that we are manifesting together. So for the rest of 2013 and beyond, I wish you more witching, more opportunities to claim your power, to slough off old skin, to ritualize your life. May your year have you feeling more attuned to the rhythms of nature, more connected to one another, and more plugged into planet and purpose.”
  27. 27. 27 SEARCHING FOR SACREDNESS AND MYSTERY
  28. 28. 28 SATIRE AND YOUTHFUL REBELLION 28
  29. 29. 29 FRINGE EVANGELICALS Knowledge is Corrupt Searching for Salvation Seeking Protection MILLENNIAL HIPSTERS Knowledge is a commodity Searching for Enchantment Seeking Escape TO SUM UP For Fringe Evangelicals and Millennial Hipsters, Occult invocations are driven by similar anxieties but used to achieve strikingly different ends. THE SACRED POWER OF MYSTERY THE SACRED POWER OF NAMING
  30. 30. 30 PLOTTING PERSPECTIVES Knowledge “What We Know” Ignorance “What We Don’t Know” Paranoia “What We Think We Know” Wonder “What We Know We Don’t Know” MYSTERY ILLUSION FACTS THEORIES FRINGE EVANGELICALS MILLENNIAL HIPSTERS
  31. 31. 31 IMPLICATIONS FOR BRANDS In a time when institutions and corporations are increasingly distrusted, consumers will develop their own strategies for managing their anxieties Brands can respond to these anxieties by either challenging them or embracing them Many are already countering perceptions of black box corporate behaviour by emphasizing transparency, social responsibility and dialogue But another approach could be to actively embrace the sense of Magic and Mystery that many consumers seek...

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