Lucifer Rising, Keneth Anger
Film Mysteries

Lucifer Rising: God of Light and Color in Experimental Film


Lucifer Rising is Kenneth Anger’s portrait of the love generation, the dawning of a new age and morality. Inspired by the ancient solar religions and conceived with occultist Aleister Crowley’s vision of the Age of Aquarius. Anger was known for his underground films and his techniques influenced Martin Scorsese and David Lynch. He passed away in May 2023.

Hollywood Babylon Gossip with Kenneth Anger 1991 ( Arena Special )

Ushering in a New Occult Age

Lucifer Rising is a short film by director Kenneth Anger about the ceremonial rising of Lucifer, a sort-of birthday party of the Aquarian Age, the Love Generation. It is also a symbolic analogy of the coming Aeon of Horus as prophesied in the Thelemic sacred text, The Book of the Law. Anger himself said in The Guardian: “Lucifer Rising was about Egyptian gods summoning the angel Lucifer – in order to usher in a new occult age, in accordance with the principles of Ordo Templi Orientis – an occult order founded by British genius Aleister Crowley.”

Lucifer is not the devil. He’s the god of light and color. Luciferous – I bring the light. To me Satan and Lucifer are totally different entities.  — Kenneth Anger

Scorpio Rising - Jesus/Scorpio crosscut sequence

The film’s central theme as impersonation of gods, known to Crowley as the Dramatic Ritual, with Isis and Osiris appearing in Egypt invoking the natural elements that conjure the rising of Lucifer, not as devil but as the rebellious Angel of Light in John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667), the Venus morning star, bringer of Light and “patron saint of the visual arts,” said Anger.

The film was completed in 1972 but was only widely distributed in 1980. The film traverses Icelandic volcanoes, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the ancient solar temples of Stonehenge and Externsteine in Germany. Anger began filming around 1966, hiring a young musician named Bobby Beausoleil to act and compose the soundtrack. The film was abandoned in 1967 because Anger claimed the film footage had been stolen by Beausoleil. (Beausoleil and others said that Anger had simply spent all the money for the film). Anger then used some of the existing footage in another short film, Invocation of My Demon Brother. Beausoleil was convicted of killing Gary Hinman under the orders of Charles Manson in 1970.

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Lucifer Rising, Keneth Anger
“Lucifer Rising”: the first really big film about black magic or white magic or whatever you want to call it, from Kenneth Anger. Goddess Lilith (portrayed by Marianne Faithfull) rising at the Great Sphinx of Giza – the Terrible One – in Egypt.

Anger began filming again several years later, with British singer Marianne Faithfull appearing in the film. Anger said: “Marianne Faithfull [playing the moon goddess Lilith] says I hypnotized her and forced her to do things against her will. I didn’t. When I took her to Egypt, she was addicted to heroin and had the nerve to carry some in her makeup box under the face powder, so it just looked like just another form of powder. If she had been arrested or discovered, we all would have been shot – that was the penalty then.”

“Lucifer’s message is that the key of joy is disobedience. Isis (Nature) wakes. Osiris (Death) answers. Lilith (Destroyer) climbs to the place of Sacrifice. The Magus activates the circle and Lucifer – Bringer of Light – breaks through.”  — Kenneth Anger

Kenneth Anger, Lucifer
Still from ‘Lucifer Rising’, by Kenneth Anger.

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page was brought in to record the soundtrack, but after he had a falling out with Anger, he was replaced by Beausoleil, who wrote and recorded the music in prison. Anger said: “In the end, I took a tape recorder in to Bobby in prison. He rounded up 12 other murderers who used to be musicians – there’s a lot of musicians in prison who got mixed up with selling drugs, but I mean they still could play music. So I recorded Bobby playing with the “all-killer orchestra”. Bobby said he was going to call his band the Powerhouse of Oz.”

Jimmy Page: 'Lucifer Rising' (Original Soundtrack)

Jimmy Page: ‘Lucifer Rising’ (Original Soundtrack).

The Magick Lantern Cycle

Kenneth Anger (born Kenneth Wilbur Anglemeyer; February 3, 1927) is an American underground experimental filmmaker, actor and author. Working exclusively in short films, he has produced almost forty works since 1937, nine of which have been grouped together as the “Magick Lantern Cycle,” and form the basis of Anger’s reputation as one of the most influential independent filmmakers in cinema history. His films variously merge surrealism with homoeroticism and the occult, and have been described as containing “elements of erotica, documentary, psychodrama, and spectacle.”

* Kenneth Anger – The Magus
* Bobby Beausoleil – Himself
* Donald Cammell – Osiris
* Marianne Faithfull – Lilith
* Myriam Gibril – Isis
* Chris Jagger – Man in Yellow Tunic
* Jimmy Page – Man Holding Stella of Revelation ”

All credits to their own.

H-T UbuWeb

Updated 22 July 2023

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