The events of September 11th made this column almost irrelevant as everything except the basic fundamentals of living seemed trivial and ultimately without meaning. Fortunately, life must go on and I feel that in order for us to truly persevere in this moment of darkness we must carry on with our lives as best we know how. It is in that spirit that I begin this column for this Brave New World.
The Silverlake Film Festival was a welcome event coming when it did and it reunited me with an old colleague, filmmaker Kenneth Anger. After seeing him at the closing night party on the grounds of the fabulously decaying mansion of silent film great Antonio Moreno, we exchanged phone numbers and promised to catch up the next day. Moreno’s estate, now called The Paramour, bedazzles the visitor with a spectacular 360-degree view of the City of the Angels.
Kenneth called me promptly the next morning and invited me to visit him on what turned out to be my birthday and the story he was compelled to relate not only is the most bizarre take on the WTC disaster but confirms one’s belief in prophecy this side of Nostradamus.
It is a well-documented fact that for a period of time in the late Sixties, Kenneth Anger was the official astrologer and flavor of the month for the Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger composed music for one of Kenneth’s films (INVOCATION OF MY DEMON BROTHER, 1969) Keith Richards relied on Kenneth’s reputation as a Magus. Keith’s lady, Anita Pallenberg, was already considered a black queen in occult circles but did not impress Kenneth in the least.
The story I am about to tell involves a weekend in late 1969 in which Anita was out of the UK. Kenneth and Keith were on their own at the palatial estate Richards leased at the time.
Keith owned a large black alchemist’s stone, smooth and shiny, with a depth that depending on how stoned one was could produce a hallucinogenic effect. Both men were using opium and perhaps a bit of LSD and Keith decided to work on a song that had been overwhelming his subconscious. He told Kenneth “I’m writing this song for you although after it’s finished the tabloids will say it was for Anita. But you will always know better.”
As Keith worked on committing this tune to paper, the two men, very high, began staring into the onyx stone and it was at this point that Keith remarked he was seeing drops of blood, bright red drops of human blood accentuated by the velvet blackness of the stone. Keith then went into a vision and told Kenneth that at the beginning of the New Millennium, a terrible catastrophe would occur. He saw high towers raining blood but could make no more sense of it except to say it was in the distant future, and that the 21st Century would have a very dark cloud over its beginnings.
At this point Richards returned to the song he was working on. And Kenneth would never forget what his friend had seen in his vision.
Flash forward to Tuesday morning, September 11th. Kenneth awoke at 6:30 AM (Los Angeles time) and as was his ritual, welcomed the sun. He felt compelled to go to his Aleister Crowley Tarot deck. At this point, Kenneth reminded me that the Tarot cannot tell your own future but on a broader scale can predict world events. As he laid the cards before him, The Tower appeared followed ultimately by the Death card.
Kenneth has never owned a television in his life. But at that moment he knew he had to be near one. He raced down the street to a little market where he purchased his daily breakfast of freshly squeezed orange juice and knew the owners kept a small television over the cash register. It was there in the early hours of September 11th that Kenneth Anger realized the prophecy in Keith Richards’ landmark tune that achieved worldwide acclaim as “Ruby Tuesday.”