There was a big furore about Stairway to Heaven containing satanic messages. It's probably the best example of a song having a "backwards message".
... it also got many a so-called scholar within religious circles writing dissertations, articles, sermons etc etc about this particular tune .... and expanding above and beyond what it might or might not mean .... to extreme exaggerations about what maybe in its meaning both forward and backwards ... one might called it the most cultural significant tune for religious theologians and sometimes zealots to hypothize the evils/sinful nature of rock music beyond the regular crowd who burn books and/or records .... and do constant exposes on its covert elements ... Take carehttp://www.catholicapologetics.info/mod ... s/rock.htm
Rock fans consider the song "Stairway to Heaven", from the band Led Zeppelin, the rock anthem. Curiously, it is a song which begins very languidly, similar to a medieval complainte, a song of complaint, somewhat melancholic. As the song moves on, its beat gets faster and faster, until it reaches, at the end, the typical frenetic beat of rock songs. Thus it sums up, through its execution, the whole path of rock history: from its sentimental roots to its frenetic and hallucinating beat.
However, it is not just for being a synthesis of rock beats that this song is important. It contains in itself, actually, a particular fascination, like a magic appeal. It “sticks” to the memory of those who listen to it, with a strange power.
To begin with, the engravings on the record are curious. On a painting hanging on an old and deteriorated wall, one finds an old man curved due to the burden of a large bunch of sticks on his back. A second engraving shows a village at long distance and a hill which a man climbs up, crawling, towards its peak, where a phantom-like creature stands: a sort of a monk wearing a tunic and a cowl, who brings in his hands a lantern where, instead of flames, an hexagonal star shines. He looks downwards, to the man who climbs the rocky slope, fascinated by the glowing of the star.
Now, this hexagonal star is the alchemic star, the cosmic hexagram, the seal of Salomon, the star of the wizards. It is formed by two triangles that overlap one another, denoting the union of the divine with the human, the superior abyss and the inferior abyss. The triangle with has a vertex downwards represents, at each of its vertices, minerals, vegetals and animals; the triangle with a vertex upwards represents, at its vertices, the dew or rain, the sea and the earth. This cosmic hexagram is often surrounded by symbols of metals and planets and by the ouroboros snake, which swallows its own tail. This cosmic hexagram is found on Aurea Catena Homeri, famous alchemic work. (Cf. Ronald B Gray, Goethe, The Alchimimist. CambridgeUniversity Press. Prancha I and Fulcanelli, Le Mystère des Cathédrales. Jean Paris: Jaques Pauvert, 1964, p. 66).
The song lyrics are printed on gothic characters, and a small engraving shows a man reading, thoughtfully, an old book with metal latches. According to Luc Adrian in the article Hard-Rock, La Danza del Diablo (Jesus Cristus # 26, March/April, 1993. p. 8), on a cover of the record of Stairway to Heaven, one would find the following piece of information: "By listening to this record, the young lads are under an enchantment, are dominated and driven by hidden forces, demons. This can lead to demoniac possession".
Weird song! What do these mysterious lyrics mean? Of course a few people understand them. Here and there, a verse give a glimpse of something. Enough to awake curiosity. Enough to let one realize that there is something hidden within. Something that immediately hides itself under the thick fogs of the next verse, which is even more mysterious. This song is like a veil that hides and reveals. It claims for being deciphered. Obviously, those who realize that there is something mysteriously hidden within it, they will try to climb up its hill of mystery, where, at the top, there is someone, even more mysterious, who shines a torch at night…
Who is this lady about whom the song talks?
About her, it is said that she wants to buy a stairway to heaven. She judges that all that glitters is gold. Her stairway lies on the whispering wind. It is also said that we all know her and that she wants to show that it is possible to turn everything into gold.
Now, the claim of transforming everything into gold is the dream of the Alchemy, esoteric science, founded on a Gnostic conception of the world. According to the Alchemy, gold would be the fundamental and primary substance of all things. That would be the reason why all things would have a certain glow. Even coal could be transformed into light, or into a shining diamond. Even the most opaque matter can, by friction, start to glow.
Nevertheless, for the Alchemy, the real result of the real art is not that of transforming lead into gold, but to transform the alchemist into God. The gold which was supposed to exist, as fundamental element of all things was nothing but a symbol of the divine pneuma – the divine spark – that lays imprisoned deep inside all beings. More than transforming all into gold, it would also be required to transform all into God, freeing all divine sparks from the matter, reason and moral prisions.
Now, Alchemy was represented in the Middle Ages as a woman holding a nine-step ladder, standing over the ground, and supported by nothing, that is, it reaches the clouds touched by the wind.
This representation of Alchemy can be seen carved on the doorway of Notre Dame Cathedral, in Paris. The most important alchemic work of our time – Le Mystère des Cathédrales – from Fulcanelli, presents an illustration of this carving. (Fulcanelli, Le Mystère des Cathedrales. Paris: J. P. Pouvert, 1964. pp. 32-33, pranche II).
Right after the introduction of the alchemic lady, the lyrics say that she is buying a stairway to heaven, that is, a path to achieve absolute happiness. She acquires it with her own strengths, and the stairway is a natural path to reach divinity. That stairway is the scala philosophorum, symbol of patience that every alchemist must have through the operations of the hermetical labor (cf. Fulcanelli, op. cit., p. 90). It is then explained that if the "stores" – that are the compartments, the celestial spheres, the ayon in the Gnostic language – are closed, she could open them with a word.
Now, according to many Gnostics, the god who created the world – the evil god – would have imprisoned the divine particles in the material universe, which would be kept by an archon, a diabolic spirit. When man dies, his spirit would seek to get across the spheres that surround the earth, but would only be able to go through them if he knew the magic word that would open them or if he knew how to use the sign that marks them. (Cf. Hans Jonas, La Religion Gnostique. Paris: Flammarion, pp. 63-64).
However, if the spirit made a mistake in the password or the receipt, he would fall again into matter, not reaching “heaven”, that is, his freedom and divinization, but he would reincarnate.
The song makes reference to a bird that sings in a tree. Now, in the same book from Fulcanelli, it is reproduced another carving from Notre Dame doorways, in Paris, which illustrates an alchemist at his “laboratory”. There one can see the alchemist under the appearance of an old man leant over a staff along with the cave that represents the alchemic laboratory. At his feet spouts the spring “magnesia” from which comes mercury, requires for the alchemic work. It is this clean spring which flows towards Queen of May that the song makes reference to, in one of its verses. Next, in a tree, there is a bird singing which, according to some authors, represents the bird phoenix, symbol of the divine spirit that exists in the bottom of the human soul.
The song also warns us that “all of our thoughts are mistaken”. Indeed, for Gnosis, intelligence would have been given to us by the evil god at the time of our creation in order to deceive us. The evil demiurge would have built an intelligible world and would have made us intelligent so that we, understanding the world, considered it good, and desired not to leave it. For this reason, intelligence would always lead us to error.
Afterwards the song states that, by looking west, that is, to the direction where the sun dies, the singer would get dominated by a feeling and that his spirit cries to leave his body, that is, to die. Because for Gnosis and Alchemy, death would be the only means for a man to free himself from his body-jail.
And it is important recalling that East is one of the names that the Holy Scriptures give to Christ, and that, therefore, the West is the opposite of Christ, in other words, devil and death.
And all that makes the singer willing for more, astonished…
It would go beyond the scope of this work to make a deeper analysis of this song. We only wanted to show that it is proposes, in a veiled fashion, a Gnostic view of the world. That is why it finishes saying that in the end, we will all be one only thing and that the “one” is all. When we, at last, become the “one” with all – that is, God, then we will be “rock” – fixed – and then we will not be subjected to evolution. “To be a rock and not to roll…”
The author of this song “Stairway to Heaven”, Robert Plant, declared: “I have received the lyrics (from the song) instantaneously, and I have not changed anything. I am proud of them. I think that someone whispered them to me.” (Cf. Luc Adrian, quoted article. In Jesus Cristus #. 26, p. 8).
There is in rock’n’roll, therefore, a secret religion, Gnosis, which, at heart, worships Satan.
According to some, the same song, if played backwards, would allow one to listen to satanic phrases, exactly at the excerpt where it is said that the human spirit cries for leaving, when it looks West, symbol of death. At this point, the following words would be listened: “I’ve got life for Satan”.
And that introduces the problem of subliminal or hidden messages in rock.