Home (theory of the ego death and rebirth experience)

Mystic-State Allusions in Rush Lyrics


Rush: "Chemistry", from Signals. 1

Is Chemistry about the mystic state of consciousness?. 2

Rush: "Freewill", from Permanent Waves. 3

"Caress of Steel" is the egodeath guillotine. 4

Lyrics: 'Another tool to help destroy.'  Is egodeath beneficial to society?. 5

New Rush vs. Ozzy lyrics about mystic state phenom.. 6

Interesting Take on Rush Lyrics. 7

Book: Detailed Contents for Mystic Rhythms (Rush, Price, Peart) 7

Timeless Old Attraction of Rush music. 8

Mystic altered state allusions in Geddy Lee's album.. 8

What books did Neil Peart read by 1976?. 11

Transcendent rescuer principle in Rush lyrics. 13

Post-Signals Rush albums. 14

Hold Your Fire. 15


Rush: "Chemistry", from Signals

>The song "Chemistry" from the album Signals I do not believe is about pot use.

It is not mainly about pot use.  It is mainly about LSD, for which pot is a surprisingly strong potentiator.  http://www.egodeath.com/rushlyrics.htm#xtocid22988

>I believe it is about the use of music and emotion to access mental telepathy in your own mind and connect with someone else.  I believe this because it has happened to me many times after analyzing all of Rush's music and lyrics.  Especially when I listen to Rush, their music and lyrics make so much sense to me I am overwhelmed. I think the song you need to refer pot smoking to is off of 2112: "A Passage to Bangkok".

>I have had many mental telepathic experiences and believe that Rush and their way of putting words to music directly affected the way my mind works.  Please let me know what you think about Music and Mental Telepathy.  I believe there is a connection.

It has always been my axiomatic assumption that there is no paranormal, no ESP.  My equivalent to your interpretation is loose-cognitive-state encoding and decoding to allude to the strange perceptual and insight phenomena produced by the mystic altered state.  Entheogens provide a logical, sensible 3rd alternative to spooky ESP and dry scientistic flatland.


>First let me thank you for sending me the link to "Rush lyrics alluding to mystic dissociative phenomena".  I found egodeath.com searching the Internet for information on Rush and came upon "Rush as an acid mysticism group". Being a person that likes Rush and has done lots of LSD I was interested so I took a look.

>I read a couple of  paragraphs and thought to myself "I think this guy knows what I am looking for".  I continued to read all the contents of "Rush as an acid mysticism group".  I was amazed at what I had read.  I linked over to a couple of your other articles but never came upon "Rush lyrics alluding to mystic dissociative phenomena".  I probably missed it because I got so interested in all your articles about egodeath and self-control cybernetics, etc.  I always knew there were hidden meanings in the lyrics of Rush, but never put the two together (acid & Rush).  Although I have been to many of their concerts on LSD which probably unlocked the door, but I could not open it all the way.

That's a great point and shows a practical failure of lyricist Peart's theoretically sound technique for encoded state-specific communication.  I am impressed by his grasp of the phenomena and the clever techniques for encoding them in lyrical allusions -- look how quickly he went from a presumably empty-headed high-school Rock musician to a high artist and true philosopher. However, given today's deep prohibition, in these ongoing dark ages, his mystery-communication techniques are not conveying the full set of allusions effectively; they are not conveying full Realization.

I envy how the Artist was able to discover ego-death principles long before the Theorist systematized it (1975 versus 1995), but ultimately to effectively communicate Realization, both Art and Theory are needed, just as feeling-mysticism by itself is severely limited without intellect-mysticism.

>In the Rush newsgroup, someone wrote "Does anyone know what the hell this guy [egodeath.com] is talking about?"  Well, Michael I know what you are talking about and you have opened the door all the way for me, thank you.  I wish I would have read "Rush lyrics alluding to mystic dissociative phenomena" before I sent you my e-mail about the song "Chemistry".  I felt kind of stupid when I read your response and "Rush lyrics alluding to mystic dissociative phenomena".  I now see the big picture, and it all makes even more sense to me now.  THANK YOU.

The page you were looking for is the one at

http://www.egodeath.com/rushlyrics.htm, which you may have found (see item 1


To do:

1. Make the link text at home and lyrics master page to match the actual page title.

2. Update the lyrics links at the home page so it is as clear as the master lyrics page http://www.egodeath.com/acidlyrics.htm.

3. Include a link to this bit of lyrics info http://www.egodeath.com/mcpnotes.htm#xtocid15333 or move this info.

4. At home page and lyrics master page, add link to this major section (or move this section): http://www.egodeath.com/mcpnotes.htm#lttatarwmsp

These fixes raise the larger issue that the site really needs at least two days of major reorganizing.  It's still in the state "not ready to announce" yet I've gone ahead and announced it anyway.  I still like the idea of having simple articles that are highly prominent and more bloated articles that are suppressed.  Most articles should be no longer than perhaps five printed pages.

Is Chemistry about the mystic state of consciousness?


at yahoo

Hi Geddy,

Is the song Chemistry largely about the mystic state of consciousness?  I hear lines sung such as "addict of subtraction", as in the disappearance of the sense of self, and "one too free", as in the disappearance of the sense of personal self-restraint.


-- Michael


>-----Original Message-----

>From: OnlinePromotionsCoord at rushcon org

>Sent: Friday, April 19, 2002 6:56 PM

>To: maryjo at rushcon org

>Subject: Ask Geddy at RushCon II

Exclusive to RushCon II: Citizens of the World!  Geddy to answer questions

submitted by Rush fans!

Geddy Lee has agreed to answer questions for a video to be shown at RushCon

II. Anthem/SRO Entertainment has arranged for Andrew MacNaughtan to film the interview for the 2nd annual Toronto Rush convention. Fans can submit their questions to askrcgeddy at yahoo com.

Along with the questions, fans should include their first name and city. Questions must be submitted by midnight May 1, 2002.  Due to time limitations, Geddy will not be able to answer every question.

For more information about RushCon II, visit http://www.rushcon.org.

Celeste L. Mechanic

Onlinepromotionscoord at rushcon org


Rush lyrics alluding to mystic dissociative phenomena


Dear Geddy:

How many 100-microgram doses would you estimate that the band has consumed, in total?

Thanks!  You guys totally ROCK!!"

Rush: "Freewill", from Permanent Waves

Most lines in the song state determinism/fatalism.  The song is ironic. 

Lee sings “you still have made a choice”, while the printed liner notes read “you cannot have made a choice”, yet Peart said the printed notes are correct and match what’s sung.

Entheogens render freewill extremely problematic.  Seeking freedom becomes a problem, a task, an issue, when inside the bubble of loose cognition.

Metaphysical freedom is false, practical freedom is true, political freedom is good.  Reform theology debate now is between two meanings of “free will”.  Reformed thinking says the will is “free” in the sense of unconstrained by external factors, but is metaphysically unfree.

See my commentary on these lyrics: http://www.egodeath.com/rushlyrics.htm#xtocid22968 (add "pray…" commentary shown below)

Most lines:

All preordained

A prisoner in chains

A victim of venomous fate

A planet of playthings

We dance on the strings [see the puppet-king on cover of Farewell to Kings]

Of powers we cannot conceive [sung like “can un-perceive”]

Kicked in the face

You can't pray for a place [sung "you can pray for a place" - to attain transcendent freedom rather than naive freewill]

In heaven's unearthly estate

Life is nothing left to chance

A host of holy horrors

To direct our aimless dance

You can choose a ready guide

In some celestial voice

If you choose not to decide

You still have made a choice

"The stars aren't aligned

Or the gods are malign"

Blame is better to give than receive

You can choose from phantom fears

And kindness that can kill

I will choose a path that's clear

they were dealt a losing hand

The cards were stacked against them

They weren't born in lotus-land

"Caress of Steel" is the egodeath guillotine

The title of the Heavy Rock album by the acid-rock group Rush: "Caress of Steel" refers to the guillotine of ego-death, per the song Bastille Day.

http://www.egodeath.com/rushlyrics.htm#xtocid22910 -- mystic-state exegesis of the song Bastille Day.

I am overjoyed at this.  I have been wrestling with that problem for about 6 years.

I am more excited about this than my other discovery of the evening, The Primal Polarity.  (The Primal Polarity: in early Christian writings, any praised group is actually a clever metaphor for those who have transcendent thinking, and any disparaged group is actually a clever metaphor for those who only have egoic thinking.)

Like all researchers in the field of science studies, I am strongly interested in the Moment Of Discovery.  That's one reason I've been posting my daily insights -- so that researchers of insights have a daily record.  That worked well for my Nov. 14, 2001 breakthrough regarding the esoteric meaning of "kingdom of Heaven"; the idea development that took place in the days before, during, and after the insight is all on record.

Here's how I the meaning of Caress of Steel finally was revealed to me.  I feel stupid now for not recognizing it for 6 years despite wanting to.

I was writing a timeline of how I developed the cybernetic theory of ego transcendence, with an emphasis on tracing my adherence to a hard dualistic distinction between correct thinking and incorrect thinking.  I was filling in my list of insights from the mid-90s and I wrote:

>Discovered and fully systematized mystic-state double-entendre encoding/decoding in acid rock lyrics, including Rush, Metallica, Beatles, and Queen. 

At this point in writing, I thought "I should probably write the name of the Metallica album, "Ride the Lightning", to answer the question people would have, "How could Metallica be acid rock?"  But I thought "No, I like that compact list."  Then I started writing my next point, about how surprisingly quickly I did all the research to develop a complete, "last word" theory of lyric encoding. 

I wanted to mention the first time that I recognized a mystic-state double-entendre allusion, and state that I immediately found that same pattern of double-entendre throughout many classic-rock albums.  So the question came up, which vinyl record did I first recognize the allusions in: was it Caress of Steel, or was it Ride the Lightning?

So I started writing:

>This whole theory of acid rock lyrics took place seemingly instantly; the moment I recognized the allusions in the first song -- probably on

then I wrote the acid-drenched album title:

>the Ride the Lightning album

and noticed "hey, this is good, I'm able to state the Metallica album name after all, though I still don't want to explicitly tell the reader the connection between this album title and the band name, Metallica -- let them guess, to try to associate the album title meaning with the group, because I want my readers to think about the meaning of the album title "Ride the Lightning" in terms of acid mystic state metaphor. 

Then I immediately proceeded to write the contender album title, "Caress of Steel", while the thought was still in my mind "I want my readers to think about the meaning of the album title ... in terms of acid mystic state metaphor", so then I proceeded to write:

>or Caress of St

and right then, in about two brief steps, it hit me, the meaning of "Caress of Steel" in terms of acid mystic state ego-death metaphor.  I had accidentally raised and highlighted the old question I had given up on, the *meaning* of "caress of steel".  First I thought, a curved steel sword, as in the whirling sword preventing Adam from re-entering the garden of Eden, and especially I imagined a sword in Eastern religion such as Kali's sword with which she cuts off men's heads. 

An instant later, I thought: but the title is only 'caress', not 'impact' or 'death-blow' -- but that feeling of just a "caress" rather than a full blow seems distinctly familiar -- it's actually an accurate description of the flash of ego death, in which the sword doesn't blast square through you, but rather, it kind of misses even while kind of killing you -- it's very very brief in fleeting in a way.

In the next instant, I almost simultaneously thought of the guillotine as a "sword with which men's heads are very quickly cut off -- particularly overthrown sovereigns like king ego" and "hit" the state of Recognition and my mind was blasted with *THAT'S IT!!! THAT'S IT!!!*.  The moment the thought "guillotine" hit me, the "IT FITS!", "ureka at last" sense of Recognition hit, as though the correct solution and the vindication and blast of "JACKPOT!!!" occured all in the same thought.

So I continued on to write:

>eel... oh, which I now recognize as the guillotine of ego death per the song Bastille Day!

The resulting paragraph is:

Discovered and fully systematized mystic-state double-entendre encoding/decoding in acid rock lyrics, including Rush, Metallica, Beatles, and Queen.  This whole theory of acid rock lyrics took place seemingly instantly; the moment I recognized the allusions in the first song -- probably on the Ride the Lightning album or Caress of Steel... oh, which I now recognize as the guillotine of ego death per the song Bastille Day!

I haven't written notes to explain the acid mystic state double-entendres of Ride the Lightning, but here are the lyrics, including the song Ride the Lightning, with all the usual themes of loss of control, mystic death, hyper-solipsism, personal puppethood, flashing light, and being frozen in spacetime.


Lyrics: 'Another tool to help destroy.'  Is egodeath beneficial to society?

Rush wrote:

>"Another toy will help destroy

>The elder race of man

>Forget about your silly whim

>It doesn't fit the plan." (Rush, 2112)

Merker wrote:

>Usually in the beginning of experimenting one holds the view that wide-spread use [of LSD]can only but be very helpful to society. As one becomes experienced it's quite clear what egodeath-experiencing is about: the shift to no control/cosmic-determinism-revelation.

>So, "another toy" is the tripper which gets turned on and is going to turn on others, thereby destroying the "elder race of man" (which believes in free will). The "silly whim" of the tripper is his plan of being able to make the world better (by using LSD). "It doesn't fit the plan" confirms the mistake of the tripper to think like he does (in the beginning).

That is thought-provoking.  Coherent; I have to consider whether Peart actually had or should have had that in mind when writing the lyrics.

New Rush vs. Ozzy lyrics about mystic state phenom

>Unlike many Rush fans, I am true, I have seen and understood these things which you describe, I guess some may call it being in tune, just wanted to say I enjoyed and still am , your site. I think you are right on key. I ... have listened and lived rush for 20 years now. I have purchased tickets to see them play in [multiple places]. If you would, write back and we can talk. I have alot to say, you seem to understand the meanings really well. Thank you for your site again, get in touch.

I have started to study the lyrics for the new Ozzy and Rush albums.

Ozzy's lyrics and audience are more likely to set up real communication - Rush's lyrics and audience don't have a clear communication channel going.  Rush is talking, but the fans: "No, you didn't Listen again."  I hope words such as "hallucinate" eventually communicate to today's Rush audience.  For now, the effective action is in the Heavy Rock area - the bands that are heavier sounding than Rush and are actively *eager* to be seen as committed explorers of the mystic state.  Ozzy's new lyrics (about 2/3 of the songs) are fairly explicit about ego death experiencing.  http://www.ozzyasylum.com/earth.html

Ozzy's Cross is equivalent to Rush's inverted pentagram (upside down goat's head).  Keys: goat = self-will delusion, Cross = no self-kingship delusion.

For these artists, I prefer the lyrics and music on their epic albums:

Rush: Caress of Steel, 2112, Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres, Permanent Waves

Ozzy: Diary of a Madman

Non-epic albums acid-mysticism albums well worth attention:

Ozzy: Blizzard of Ozz

Iron Maiden: Somewhere in Time

Metallica: Ride the Lightning

I'm becoming dissatisfied with the term "mysticism" -- too many connotations reminescent of ineffective approaches.  "Mystery religion" is closer to the mark, leading to terms such as acid mysteries.  Of course we have moved beyond considering LSD as uniquely religious.  "Entheogenic mysteries" is accurate and doesn't suffer from the wimpy and stylistically inappropriate connotations of "mysticism". 

People have wrong ideas about what "mysticism" is all about, what its character is.  When real mystic experience arrives, it is entirely different in character than what newage spirituality would envision.  "Spirituality" and "mysticism" are too light or lite in connotation.  We need heavy, intense terms to convey the heaviness of actual mystic-state phenomena.

Interesting Take on Rush Lyrics

From: Chris McDonald

>>I read your analyses of Rush songs with great interest. I noticed on your discussion page that some people have questioned your interpretations. You replied by stating that your interlocutors did not *prove* that there were no acid references in Rush's lyrics.

>>At the same time, I was left wondering if you could offer a more elaborate rationale for assuming that there is an 'occluded' layer of meanings in Rush's lyrics. I ask, because I can understand why Neil Peart would get upset at the attempt to show that there are 'deep' or secret meanings in his work for two reasons:

>>(1) It hijacks the meaning of the songs for sometimes either negative or unintended ends. For instance, the Christian Longhorn Fellowship in Texas tried to prove that there are Satanic inferences in some of Rush's songs and iconography (e.g., the Red Star/pentagram, the inferred negative portrayal of the Christian right in 'Witch Hunt,' occultist references in 'The Necromancer,' 'The Twilight Zone,' etc.). Peart wrote a letter to the editor of the Daily Texan vehemently denying that such references are Satanic, and suggested that perhaps people see in songs whatever they wish to see. If you have Satanism on the brain, you are likely to see manifestations of it wherever you look. In any case, Peart obviously (and understandably) did not appreciate being set up as a 'straw man' for this religious group to bash, especially when their assumptions about his work run contrary to his authorial intentions.

>>(2) Authors of many stripes are suspicious of analyses and readings of their work which purport to 'deconstruct' the meanings of their texts, for it is often implied that the author is dishonest, or in some cases, unaware, about what s/he is saying. In academia, deconstructions of texts include showing how, say, 'sexist' linguistic practices undergird the writing of, say, Wordsworth or whomever. Given that such authors lived in a 'sexist,' patriarchal society, this is not surprising, but does such analysis really get at the point of a Wordsworth poem? Is this the perspective which best helps one appreciate the poem?

>>I am curious to know how you respond to the recent discussion of your work on Tri-Net (www.r-u-s-h.com). They've been having a good laugh with it, writing new analyses modelled on your own, but proving that all Rush songs are actually about food. They want to start a new site called 'Eggodeath.' Obviously, this is a joke -- but can you demonstrate the 'occluded' layer of culinary meanings which they 'uncover' are less plausible than the acid references you impute to Rush songs?

>>Ultimately, one cannot 'prove' definitively that Peart doesn't put acid references in their lyrics, because no one but Peart himself can know the author's authentic intent. However, it is also impossible to 'prove' that such references *are* present either. One may only speculate. However, is it possible that the interpretive 'moves' which you make with respect to these lyrics are precisely what *you* want to see, and do not represent the intent of the author in point of fact? In other words, who is responsible for the meanings imputed to Rush lyrics on your site -- you, or Neil Peart?

>>Peart wrote to the Daily Texan, "I get all kinds of letters from people...telling me the most fantastic things that they have somehow 'discovered' in my words. As is ever true -- they find what they want to find...I don't wish to offend anyone's genuine beliefs, as it is a fundamental tenet of my philosophy that people should believe whatever they choose to believe. It must be stated, though, that when you've 'got' religion, like Siddhartha, you find it everywhere you look...Interpretation is based on the perciever's state of mind -- not on any objective reality. An inkblot is a cloud is a song -- forwards or backwards." I believe, from what Peart says here, is that if you wish to use Rush's music as a backdrop for LSD experience, and read your own meanings into the text, that's fine with Neil -- just don't insist or assume that your readings are exactly what he had in mind.

Book: Detailed Contents for Mystic Rhythms (Rush, Price, Peart)

The book has no table of contents.  Here is a detailed TOC I created today, to show which songs are analyzed. 


The author of Deconstructing Jesus and other works is Robert M. Price.


http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/robert_price/martin.html -- here he writes "When my wife Carol saw me reading The Case Against Christianity, her comment was, "Yeah, like you need one!" Well, some people do. And Martin has provided a good one."  Robert M. Price the author of Deconstructing Jesus is married to Carol Price, and is therefore probably Robert M. Price the co-author of Mystic Rhythms, a scholarly book.

Carol Selby Price & Robert M. Price

Mystic Rhythms: The Philosophical Vision of Rush


Timeless Old Attraction of Rush music

>I find the acid rock mysticism conversation quite instructive, yet that is not why I enjoy listening to Rush's music.  I enjoy the music for the superior instrumental skills of the bandmembers. The underlying meaning of the lyrics is a nice bonus, or if you will "the frosting on the cake". 

I went to Rush concerts and got almost all their albums for years, before ever seriously examining the lyrics.  In a previous posting, I described how the double-entendre theory of Classic Rock lyrics dawned on me, and when exactly I first consciously examined and hooked onto the meaning of the lyrics in Caress of Steel. 

I still have to work to recall the sequence, but generally, I studied closely Ozzy's Diary of a Madman in the late 1980s, but still assumed that such double-entendres to the mystic altered state were rare.  It was even before that, perhaps 1987, when I realized the altered-state meaning of some seemingly innocent Beatles lyrics.  Only in the mid-1990s did I discover that such double-entendres are the main character of Classic Rock, a leading standard practice.

Lyrically, Rush is a philosophy band, in the highest and most ancient sense of 'philosophy' and 'poetry'.  It is no coincidence that great philosophy and great art are found together.  Cognitive loosening agents enable creativity and archetypal expression in all ways, including musical form, musical performance, and lyrical content including explicit thematic material and subtle higher allusion.

I'm still finding things in such albums I've studied for years, such as Ozzy's "Never heard a thing I said, dead, dead" and Rush's opening and closing phrases "And the meek shall inherit the earth" and "We have assumed control". 

Now what the hell is an selfishness-honoring, ego-glorifying Ayn Rand Objectivist band doing praising the meek, killing oneself, and talking about some alien force taking control?  Freewill thinking is a foundation of sand, only no-free-will remains standing; we have mistakenly assumed freewill personal agency.

Mystic altered state allusions in Geddy Lee's album

John wrote:

>I have been a Rush fan for nearly 17 years.  I have preached the band like a minister would Christ.  However, I have become disgusted with the band over recent years in that they act like gods and are treated like gods.  I am now a Christian and don't believe in pushing my views.   But, I knew that behind those mystical lyrics of Rush was something deeper.  I really regret all of the time that I spent promoting this band and the bullshitter that Neil Peart is.

>How do you feel about Geddy Lee's new solo album and the lyrical content?  I am going to get rid of my Rush CD's and may keep the Geddy Lee solo album (depending on the lyrics).  Please do reply.  I consider you a hero.  Keep up the great work in exposing the lies behind the music of the cowards of Rush.

Drug inspiration runs throughout popular music and there is no way to escape it.  I recommend that you keep the Rush albums.  They are musically superior and are inspired by the flesh of God.  Sin does not enter from outside; it comes from within: MATTHEW 15, from King James:


7  Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,

8  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with

their lips; but their heart is far from me.

9  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of


10  And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:

11  Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh

out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

12  Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the

Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?

13  But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not

planted, shall be rooted up.

14  Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead

the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

15  Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.

16  And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?

17  Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth

into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?

18  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart;

and they defile the man.

19  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,

fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

20  These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands

defileth not a man.

The title "My Favorite Headache" can well refer to the subtle acid-burn type of headache.  If one had to have a headache, one might well wish for the day-after, very subtle headache -- hardly a headache, just a bit of a distinctive fry brain sensation, such as after a strong 600 microgram session of d-Lyserg Saure Di-ethyl-amide-25.

Based on density or frequency of certain motifs and turns of phrase, I think that the later Rush albums and the solo Geddy Lee album do allude to the entheogenic mystic altered state, but in a rote, formulaic way.  I doubt these artists are using entheogens much, these years.

It is possible to make a case that Christianity was originally inspired by use of entheogens, and that Jesus is none other than the entheogens, like Dionysus.  There is a new book just out -- be the first one to read it.  There is controversy among the entheogen scholars, however, about the detail of whether the main Christian entheogen is Amanita, cannabis, or ergot.

I am against Peart's secrecy about the LSD allusions and inspiration of the band's musicianship and lyrics.  However, you must keep in mind the severe persecution that has been going on, of those who consume the sacraments.  This forced secrecy is another sense in which I can declare that entheogen-related popular music is the authentic *mystery* religion of our time.

The Psychedelic Sacrament: Manna, Meditation, and Mystical Experience

Dan Merkur



Reveals the secret teachings from the Judeo-Christian traditions that promote the use of psychedelic substances to enhance religious transcendence. * Explains how special meditations were designed to be performed while partaking of the "psychedelic sacrament". * By the author of The Mystery of Manna, Powers Which We Do Not Know, Gnosis, and The Ecstatic Imagination.

In The Mystery of Manna, religious historian Dan Merkur provided compelling evidence that the miraculous bread that God fed the Israelites in the wilderness was psychedelic, made from bread containing ergot--the psychoactive fungus containing the same chemicals from which LSD is made. Many religious authorities over the centuries have secretly known the identity and experience of manna and have left a rich record of their involvement with this sacred substance.

In The Psychedelic Sacrament, a companion work to The Mystery of Manna, Dan Merkur elucidates a body of Jewish and Christian writings especially devoted to this tradition of visionary mysticism. He discusses the specific teachings of Philo of Alexandria, Rabbi Moses Maimonides, and St. Bernard of Clairvaux that refer to special meditations designed to be performed while partaking of the "psychedelic sacrament."

These meditations combine the revelatory power of psychedelics with the rational exercise of the mind, enabling the seeker to achieve a qualitatively enhanced state of religious transcendence. The Psychedelic Sacrament sheds new light on the use of psychedelics in the Western mystery tradition and deepens our understanding of the human desire for divine union.

About the Author - Dan Merkur, Ph.D., has taught at Syracuse University and Auburn Theological Seminary. His research focuses on the varieties of religious experience in historical, cross-cultural, and psychoanalytical perspectives. He is the author of many books, including The Mystery of Manna, Powers Which We Do Not Know, Gnosis, and The Ecstatic Imagination. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.


More research/books on entheogens in Western religion:



Here are some of the lines that, in the total context of the universe of Rush lyrics, allude, though weakly, to the experiences encountered in the mystic altered state.  However, you likely won't recognize these as particularly alluding to the altered state, without my explicitly connecting these lines to the elements of my self-control theory of ego death, and connecting these to specific lines of other Rush songs that are certainly allusions to the phenomena of acid-rock mysticism.


Got eyes like an outlaw

You may think he's deranged

Home on the strange

He's a Canadian icon

Standing on the plains of abraham

Standing near the edge

Of a quiet breakdown

I watch the sea

It helps to anchor me

You keep on hiding

Till your paranoia calms down

Once you start watching

You keep on watching

Till you’re tied up and you’re spellbound

Halfway up the hill

My fingers may bleed

But I’ve got to get there


Standing on the hill

My spirit’s released

But I’ve got to get there

It’s just confusion

An illusion

Easily overdone

Here comes resolution


Living in the present tense

When you lose the past

And the future makes no sense

You’re living in the present tense

Crawling out, secure and confident

Imbued with innocence

Ready for the whirl

Suddenly the view was more intense

Living in a different kind of world

In a silent universe

The moment can be so real

You almost can’t stand it

You’re living

Living in the present tense

When you lose the past

And the future makes no sense

You’re living in the present tense

Nothing to blame

As with the later Rush lyrics, I would characterize the album's lyrics as being a relatively inferior and weak reflection of the Holy Spirit of Christ/Dionysus.  The Holy Spirit is especially strong in the early, third album, Caress of Steel.

What books did Neil Peart read by 1976?

I'm the first to systematically model Hellenistic thinking on the basis of self-control cybernetics, entheogens, and no-free-will.  However, artistically, the poet/drummer Neil Peart comprehended the cybernetic and entheogenic essence back around 1975 -- he might not have thought of the entheogen aspect entirely on his own; he may have read Graves' article "Food for Centaurs" or the new, ~1960 preface to Graves' Greek Myths.

The Greek Myths (Vol. 1)

Robert Graves

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140010262 -- he writes that he now thinks mushrooms such as Amanita or (a psilocybin species) were fundamental to Greek myth.

http://www.csp.org/chrestomathy/food_for.html -- CSP writes "In the chapter "Centaurs' Food" Graves supports the Wassons' claim that hallucinatory agents were used in the Eleusinian Mysteries with citations of ancient Greek poetry, plays, statuary, and vase-art."  Excerpt(s): "The meaning of "ambrosia," the food of the gods, like "nectar," their drink is: "that which confers immortality." ... At this point, I wrote down the Greek words of the ambrosia recipe, as follows, one underneath the other ... So, if mushrooms were ambrosia, and if ambrosia was mushrooms, be pleased to examine those three sets of initial letters-M-U-K-E-T-A; M-U-K; M-U-K-A. ... I read them as three clear examples of ogham (which was what the ancient Irish bards called the device of spelling out a secret word by using the initial letters of other ordinary words). MUKETA answers the question: "What do the gods eat?"; for MUKETA is the accusative of MUKES ("mushroom"). ... MUKA is an earlier form of the word MUKES ("mushroom"). (pages 264-265)

For "immortality", read "imperishability".  Egoic thinking is perishable in the light of the mystic state; transcendent thinking is imperishable.  Egoic thinking is "the foolish man built his house on a foundation of sand, but the wind (holy spirit/altered state) and sea (visual distortion) came and washed it away"; transcendent thinking is "the wise man built his house on a foundation of rock (no-free-will)".

I have become immortal -- that is, imperishable -- my mental model based on no-free-will will never die, never perish when blown by the stormy wind of the holy spirit.  I really ought to read more Greek.

Graves is an outstanding popular poet with many awards.  Peart's field is also poetry.  Therefore, it is fairly likely that Peart read Graves' proposal that mushrooms were important.  What books on the entheogen theory of (Western) religion were published by 1976?  So little coverage of this subject.  Besides India, I only find witches and shamanism, not Hellenistic religion.

Flesh of the Gods: The Ritual Use of Hallucinogens

Peter Furst (Ed.)



Hallucinogens and Shamanism

Michael Harner (Ed.)



Exploring Mysticism: A Methodological Essay [entheogens in E. Indian etc. rel.]

Frits Staal



Behind a Mozart, you often find a guiding father.  Eddie Van Halen, genius at playing technique and guitar construction and gear configuration, was helped in the latter by a good technician.  Who clued in young Peart; how did it happen that a mere young Rock drummer connected his visionary plant experiences with Hellenistic culture? 

I have a similar question about Wilber: how in the hell did a mere young PhD student write Spectrum of Consciousness?  By avoiding wasting time on the Rock religion (music, lyrics, and psychoactives)?

Peart certainly had a firm grasp on the figure of the dead puppet king in 1975-1978.  What the hell is a drummer doing writing lyrics and studying ancient poetry at all, anyway?  I must find out more about Peart's history.  He wanted to explore religion and Western religion, evidently, and the figure of the king (Bastille Day), but not Christianity -- so he looked to the Greek roots of Western culture: Greek myth (per Odysseus, "I'm lashed helpless to the mast"). 

This might say something about the superior quality of his Canadian education.  I am astonished that some people consider it standard for schoolchildren to be taught Greek myths. 

I was never taught Greek myths, and barely taught any myth-religion at all -- an occasional bit of Church and Jewish temple, that's all.  If Peart were from Europe, I wouldn't be surprised that he'd know Greek myths upon high school graduation.  No way could I have written insightfully about kingship or Greek myth at Peart's age, even if I had used strong visionary plants.  After high school, I couldn't have even defined what a king was, or named a Greek god -- a very spotty education, more like workforce training.

>>reminisences about my days at a two-bit Canadian university, during 1973-1976, where the students and faculty were light years ahead of any I've ever encountered down south

>>Peart .. likely knew more about Greek myths, and Western culture in general, than the entire graduating class of NYU or Brown today.

"In Germany ... When you are 10 years old, you have to learn Latin and you translate Julius Caesar when you are 11"

http://www.calendarlive.com/tv/cl-tv-coverstory29jun29,0,7073199.story?coll=cl-tvent -- "'Caesar': A look at the man behind the icon -- The makers of a new four-hour miniseries wanted to explore the ancient Roman leader's early years and his rise to power.

>>"On the set we did the 'Monty Python' test," says director Uli Edel ("The Mists of Avalon"), referring to the genre spoofs performed by the famed British comedy troupe, particularly "Life of Brian," set in biblical times.  "Did it look like something from 'Monty Python'? If it did then something must be wrong."

>>"I tried to be as truthful as possible and also find something new to say about Julius Caesar," says Edel ... "What do we know about Caesar? We know about Caesar and Cleopatra — the world-famous love story. But that is the old Caesar. He was over 50 when he met Cleopatra, and nobody has done anything about how he became that person. How did this man come from obscurity and become the most powerful man in the known world at the time?"

>>Edel, who grew up in Germany, had long been a fan of Caesar. "I had nine years of Latin," he says. "When you are 10 years old, you have to learn Latin and you translate Julius Caesar when you are 11. So he is around with you in your early age, torturing you! Actually he wrote very clear, very simple. I felt I was the right guy to do this. You can call it a dream project."

Transcendent rescuer principle in Rush lyrics

Acid rock song: No One at the Bridge, by Rush


Shout out for salvation [kneel and pray to god-of-Fate to save me from freedom]

but there's no one there to hear [no personal compassionate transcendent rescuer or god or transcendent/divine savior can rationally be assumed]

Cry out supplication [grovel slave-like, humbly, contritely, desperately]

for the maelstrom is near [the whirlpool vortex of self-control breakdown]

Scream out desperation [in deepest jeopardy]

but no one cares to hear [there is no god out there who cares to save me]

So how does the smart-ass sophisticate objectivist Randian philosopher Neil Peart -- tied to Odysseus' mast and nailed to Jesus' cross -- chained to the rock, poor princess -- rationally and ego-honoringly save his sorry helpless ass from the maelstrom of self-control chaos, given that "there's no one there to hear" and "no one cares to hear"?  He  does not say.  The next song is "Panacea", half-suggesting a woman, half a religious principle.  Flipping the album over, we have:


Lead them to the dungeons.

Spectres numb with fear,

they bow defeated. [defeat of ego power during ego death]

III. Return of the Prince

Enter the Champion. Prince By-Tor appears to battle for freedom from chains of long years. The spell has been broken...the Dark Lands are bright, the Wraith of the Necromancer soars away... in the night.

Stealthily attacking,

By-Tor slays his foe.

The men are free to run now

from labyrinths below. [altered-state navigation of the labyrinth of strange loop of egoic control and ego-agency]

What is the name by whom Neil was rescued and saved?  Prince By-Tor, formerly called Snow Dog.  Some call him Christ, some call him Dionysus, some call him St. George.  By any name, this is The Transcendent Strange-Control-Loop Rescuer.  That is the true name of our savior.  There is only one name by which we must be saved: The Transcendent Strange-Control-Loop Rescuer, the helper, the advocate, your good lawyer... also known by one philosophical mystery-cult as By-Tor. 

But to deliberately make things difficult for us, and make us prove our worth as theorists focused on the principles rather than the labels, Neil chose the "By-Tor" name, which his previous album used to represent evil -- there, the savior/rescuer principle is labelled "Snow Dog". 

The inspired sophisticated rationalist Neil Peart contradicts himself on the crucial subject of whether there is a personal compassionate transcendent rescuer:

"Shout out for salvation but there's no one there to hear, cry out supplication for the maelstrom is near, scream out desperation but no one cares to hear"


"Disciples of the Snow Dog sound the knell, rejoicing echoes as the dawn is nearing, By-Tor in defeat retreats to Hell, Snow Dog is victorious, the land of the Overworld is saved again"


"Stealthily attacking, By-Tor slays his foe, the men are free to run now from labyrinths below"

Peart says that in response to the shout/cry/scream for rescue, there's no one there to hear and no one cares to hear -- so how is his ship saved?  He never says, but just changes the subject to "Panacea".  But on the previous album, as the disciples of the Snow Dog sound the knell, Snow Dog is victorious in his rescue of his disciples from the tomb of Hades; and on the previous album side, By-Tor (now representing the good rescuer) slays the foe and frees the three men who were helplessly trapped in the dungeon labyrinths.

In No One at the Bridge Neil says there *isn't* a personal savior (personal compassionate transcendent rescuer), but in Return of the Prince on the same album and in "By-Tor And The Snow Dog" on the previous album, he said there *is* a personal compassionate transcendent rescuer.

Song -- Rescuer Label -- Entrapper Label

"By-Tor And The Snow Dog" -- 'Snow Dog' -- 'Prince By-Tor'

"Return of the Prince" -- 'Prince By-Tor' -- 'The Necromancer'

Post-Signals Rush albums

You and I probably aren't the only ones who treat Rush like a band that broke up after the 1982 album Signals.  I sincerely tried, as much as I could stand, but of what I heard after that, neither the music nor the lyrics happen to appeal to me; I had to conclude that they were no longer inspired, but were going by rote, and became too old to rock and roll (dose with lysergic acid) and to young to die.  I maintain that the 1984 album Grace Under Pressure fits with early Rush, not late Rush. 

Grace Under Pressure has many altered-state songs, and innovative style, even if generally bleak and obsessed with paranoia and modern doom and alienation.  It's a kind of low point, as far as mood -- nuclear war, concentration camps, and paranoia -- their answer to Pink Floyd's angst album, The Wall?

Reviews of Rush albums (just 1 unreliable data point among many that are needed):


They propose that you and I listen to the 1989 album Presto.

Presto does have some good philosophy lyrics, that don't fail to have much about Dionysus in them.  The Pass is good lyrically.  Presto, the title track, says

If I could wave my magic wand

I'd set everybody free

This implies that the biggest point of the album is that we're not metaphysically free.

In "Superconductor" that must be God.

Watch his every move


Orchestrate illusions


Watch his every move


Hoping you'll believe

Designing to deceive

That's entertainment

They use a phrase Ozzy used in Over the Mountain: "disappear into the crowd".  The album has thick allusions to mystic altered state phenomena -- don't know if I could stand the music though.  I don't think I've ever heard any of the songs on this album.

At http://www.egodeath.com/rushlyrics.htm see the songs listed below Signals, which are currently:

Album: Grace Under Pressure

Distant Early Warning


The Enemy Within (Part I of Fear)

The Body Electric

Red Lenses

Between the Wheels

Album: Counterparts

Stick It Out

Album: Test for Echo



One of the top philosophically important Rush songs is The Body Electric (100-100-1, SOS, android egodeath).  It's a key song for the cybernetic theory of ego death -- it neither uses fantasy nor myth.

The Enemy Within is fairly important.

Between the Wheels is dense with allusions to ego death and mystical phenomena -- I should complete the analysis; for example, these refer to the ascension of egoic thinking up to heaven, only to meet the angel with the flaming sword, who casts out the demonic freewill agency delusion and ego goes falling way down to the depths, leading often to desperate dependence on the gratuitous goodness of the uncontrollable transcendent controller -- where rational Heavy Rock guys like Peart are brought to pray and beg and depend on God:

We can go from boom to bust

From dreams to a bowl of dust

We can fall from rockets' red glare

Down to "Brother can you spare --"

I read the last as Peart reporting that after falling upon attaining a high ecstatic state -- "stumbling" -- he had to beg and depend on the One that is outside and prior to Peart's control-thoughts.

The song "Distant Early Warning" ends with a lament of Absolom, king David's son in the Bible, and is a reference to mystical ego death.  See:

Tue 4/30/2002 11:00 AM

RE: [egodeath] Labyrinth, Balaam's donkey, Golden Ass, Damascus


Hold Your Fire

All Rush albums with acid-mystic drummer lyricist Neil Peart have a high density of double-entendres and allusions to the phenomena of the mystic altered state.  I personally prefer the early, epic concept albums.  I don't care for the musical style of the later, "singles" albums. 

I am one of that venerable minority crowd who thinks Caress of (guillotine) Steel is the greatest and loftiest Rush album, and I have one of the few who has only moderate respect for their most typically popular album, Moving Pictures.  And I just don't connect musically with the later albums.  The epic concept albums are more mythically grand and conceptual.  Signals is the last album I connect with stylistically, musically, and thematically. 

I have let down the many people who are favorable toward the later, post-Signals albums.  There are two bands: early Rush, and later Rush.  The band I love to analyze is early Rush; the later band is just a footnote. 

The acid mystic phenomena are dense in the later albums, there's no shortage of allusions, but I have described that I use a pyramid approach, focusing most of my attention on one band, much attention on ten other bands such as The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and Metallica, and the remainder on the rest of Rock bands.  Consider Rush as two bands, and I only need to concentrate on one: the early Rush, to make all my points. 

Just as my job is not to analyze all rock lyrics by all bands, but put forward an analytical system everyone can apply, with a sufficient set of examples of applying that interpretive decoding scheme, my job is not necessarily to analyze all Rush albums, but sufficiently to show how the early Rush albums can be analyzed.  I have proven that my system of explanation is clear enough for other people to apply it to various bands. 

So is it left as an exercise for the reader to apply the acid double-entendre recognition scheme to the later Rush albums.

The mystic meanings of the concept "Hold Your Fire" are dictated not by Neil Peart's intention as the root but rather, are dictated by the universal dynamics of the mystic altered state phenomena.  A standard peak event is coming close to sacrificial deliberate loss of control in the mystic altered state, possessed by the spirit of the truth that puppets know. 

From the high point of view, we as egoic controller agents are helpless puppets dancing on a string, with a hidden alien Cause and Controller pulling those strings.  All we can know about that Cause that makes us dance is that we are radically subject and subservient to It/Him/That, and always have been, even though we usually imagine our mundane selves to be the king reigning on the throne. 

This view and world-model has far greater logical integrity and experiential soundness in light of mystic-state perception than the accustomed assumptions.  Regardless of what's true, we have the *potential* to grasp this high way of thinking, and short circuit and crash and reboot.  How can one fully grasp this soul-shocking way of thinking?  Deliberately short-circuit self-control; willingly kill and destroy the accustomed assumed willer -- which is a way of thinking. 

How can one kill a way of thinking, how can one cast out the demon of lower, contradictory, egoic thinking, for good?  Bodily death won't do it; control-death is needed; disprove the upstart candidate for king by some sort of cybernetic crucifixion of the false, lower, mundane moral agent, controller-self.  Thus the solution is to be willing to transgressively kill self-control, to prove and perfect one's grasp of no-free-will and no-separate-self. 

The most common experience in the altered world is to reach the brink of death, which is the point of willing the sacrificial destruction of self-control. 

The moment one is made willing to sacrifice self-control in order to gain Truth, the pearl of great price, the angel reveals that that same mode of logic needs no further demonstration and is even likely corrupted and distorted by any physical enactment. 

The most perfect manifestation of proof that one grasps the cybernetic puppet principle with respect to the time axis is the transformation of one's will and thinking -- accepting the most ideal and perfect sacrifice possible, that of the godman in the mythic realm. 

Now, actual transgression of self-control enacted *can* be metaphysically valuable, but only as a metaphor and dim reflection of the most perfect sacrifice of self-control, which occurs in the mythic realm.  Similarly, bodily death is a mere shadow and metaphor for the important death, which is spiritual ego death.

The concept of "Hold Your Fire" refers to this saving realization, that we are saved from having to sacrifice self-control by grasping that the *idea* of sacrificing self-control is more perfect and complete than any action. 

On the brink of sacrificing self-control destructively, just about to pull the trigger to attain a perfect grasp of transcendent truth, we find that that perfect grasp of truth is *free* -- well, it only costs one's deluded assumption of being a free moral agent, creating one's own future and one's own stream of thoughts.  At the last moment, the angel says "Do not strike the boy" (with the sacrificial knife) and that is more perfect than any mundane enactment of self-control transgression. 

The mythic obedient/willless/compliant lamb or godman in the mythic realm becomes a perfect demonstration and perfectly comprehended symbolic expression of the highest truth about the self and self-control with respect to the time axis.  One is saved by the godman, reborn, and enlightened, all as one event.

"Hold Your Fire" can't be a retraction of the mystic law, a retraction of the no-free-will position.  It's what happens when one is made willing to sacrifice self-control to gain knowledge of the transcendent Truth about oneself as a self-controlling agent, but that willingness is trumped at the last second by the realization that intellectual comprehension is the point and physical enaction is not the point.

The lyrics support free will in such a way as to make it maximally problematic; it affirms free will in the most problematizing way possible.  Randian Objectivism is also restricted as well as endorsed; Rand dismissed all religion out of ignorance about mystic insight and ego-transcendent revelation. 

Ayn Rand is King Ego, but King Ego must be sacrificed in some essential way, although also preserved as a mundanely practical structure, in order to gain knowledge of the purest and most integrated Truth about our nature as self-controlling agents.


Home (theory of the ego death and rebirth experience)