STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN, OR HIGHWAY TO HELL – Spirituality in Rock n’ Roll

A recent article in the Spokesman-Review newspaper highlighted the upcoming Santana concert in Spokane.[i]  Very cool, I thought, maybe I’ll go!  But then the article reminded me of some things that drive Carlos Santana’s music that made me have second thoughts. [To read the article, click here.]

I’ve always liked Santana, as well as most of the other ’70’s rock bands that shaped my generation.  But I always found it interesting that so many popular bands back then became influenced by the occult, or at the very least, what we would term “alternative” religious worldviews.

Take the Beatles for example.  The band’s music in the early years was completely devoid of any hint of spirituality, but as they rose in fame, so too did their quest for spiritual knowledge and connection.  As the Beatles matured, the influence of their own personal spiritual quests on their music became apparent.  While John Lennon’s “Imagine” became an atheist anthem, George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” was a testimony to Harrison’s personal devotion to the band’s spiritual guide and guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. [ii]

For those who may have been too young, too old, or too stoned to remember those days, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was considered the father of “Transcendental Meditation”.[iii]  He spent much of his later life creating an entity called “The Global Country of World Peace” (GCWP).  In 2002, the Maharishi’s GCWP was incorporated in the state of Iowa.  The GCWP has several centers in the U.S., the Netherlands and Ireland.

In 2008, the Maharishi’s people started building “Peace Palaces” across the United States.   To date, GCWP spiritual centers have been built in Bethesda, Maryland, Houston and Austin, Texas, Fairfield, Iowa, St. Paul, Minnesota and Lexington, Kentucky.  Additional land has been purchased in 52 locations around the US while construction continues on even more “Palaces” at many other sites around the world.  You can credit the Maharishi’s financial success directly to his popularity among the Hollywood crowd and various music artists going back 50 years, but none did more for his career than the Beatles.  For a more detailed look at the GCWP, click here.

Of course, the Beatles were not unique in their quest for inner peace and enlightenment.  The Beach Boys, as well as a whole slew of Hollywood celebrities. also became enamored with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.   But other bands sought out their own spiritual gurus and/or shamans.

The Grateful Dead’s 1972 album “Rolling Thunder”, was named after a Shoshone medicine man by the same name.  In fact, the shaman’s voice is heard on the first track which is entitled, “Rolling Thunder/Shoshone Invocation”.  Later, and apparently after not being satisfied with their experiences with this particular guru, some members of the band sought out the services of a more powerful shaman from Peru. I don’t know what this man’s name was, but I’ve been told he could put one hell of a spell on you!  Not surprisingly, once you have two shamans mixing hallucinogens and competing for the allegiance of the same disciples, a song writer might indeed declare “what a long strange trip its been!”

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1563)

The lesson learned, at least from the Dead’s perspective, is that if you really want to gain spiritual insight and power, you have to go to the most powerful sources.  Unfortunately for the late Jerry Garcia, none of his shamans were able to save him from either physical or spiritual death.  That’s because they were all second tier.

Like everybody else in my generation who grew up listening to rock music, I had my favorites.  I tended to be drawn to the harder bands, like Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, and Led Zeppelin.  When I wanted to listen to lighter music I chose CCR or the Moody Blues.  Or if I was in the mood for something a little bit more eclectic, I listened to Yes, ELP or Pink Floyd.  While it is true that ‘rock ‘n roll’ music has primarily been associated with sex, drugs, and all sorts of sinful behavior, including strange occult connections, there are exceptions.  Some popular rock bands even insert bits and pieces of the Christian gospel into many of their song lyrics.  Those with ears to hear, notice.

I think it was true it was people like you that crucified Christ
I think it is sad the opinion you had was the only one voiced
Will you be so sure when your day is near, say you don’t believe? You had the chance but you turned it down, now you can’t retrieve Perhaps you’ll think before you say that God is dead and gone
Open your eyes, just realize that he’s the one
The only one who can save you now from all this sin and hate
Or will you still jeer at all you hear? Yes! I think it’s too late.

[Excerpt from “After Forever” – Black Sabbath – 1971]

Although considered the first “metal” hard rock band, Black Sabbath’s lyrics more often than not sounded a warning about where unrepentant sin would eventually lead the wayward masses of mankind.  Songs such as “Lord of this World”,  “Children of the Grave” and “War Pigs” head the list.  Sabbath’s most notable “christian” offering may have been a song off of “Master of Reality”, their third album.  That song was entitled “After Forever”, and it presented an in-your-face unapologetic gospel message.  Readers who want a more in-depth analysis on the lyrics of Black Sabbath, click here.

Which brings us back to Santana.  The article in the Spokesman-Review mentions the connections between Carlos Santana and Sri Chinmoy.   For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Chinmoy was the man who served as the guardian of the UN Meditation Room and was considered by many to be the spiritual guide at the United Nations.  Having been involved with some very well connected people when I first moved to Spokane back in 1981-82, I happen to know a bit more about Chinmoy’s influence than I do those other gurus.  I actually met a high ranking contemporary of Chinmoy’s right here in Spokane.

That man’s name was Donald F. Keys.  Mr. Keys was, at that time, a very highly placed United Nations insider.  You won’t find much mention of him using a search engine.  Keys name has virtually been erased from Wikipedia as well as the UN archives.  (I happen to know why he dropped off the radar and where he ended up, but that’s a story for another day!)

Suffice it to say that Keys had been a prolific speech writer for Secretary General U. Thant.  As one of the early members and supporters of the new-age “Findhorn Community”, which has since morphed into the “Findhorn Foundation”[iv], and the author of a demonically inspired book entitled, “Earth at Omega: Passage to Planetization” [c. 1982] [v],  Keys was considered one of the main players and guiding forces working behind the scenes at the U.N.   In fact, for those who are interested in such things, Keys describes the spiritual foundations of the U.N. here.  [vi]

Keys work centered on bringing the world into harmony through “one mind”.   He partnered with other globalist heavyweights such as Norman Cousins in the founding of several notable and highly influential UN NGO’s including, “Planetary Citizens” and “Planetary Initiative for the World we Choose.”[vii]  These, and many other like-minded organizations, are all part of the “world connectivity” movement, a vast open conspiracy of world UNIFICATION AND CONTROL as detailed in Carl Teichrib’s amazing new book, “Game of Gods: The Temple of Man in the Age of Re-Enchantment”. [viii].

As a Christian concerned with witnessing to the world and sharing the gospel message, and as someone who is also concerned with preserving the freedoms in America that allow me to continue doing so, I cannot condone supporting any group that advances the United Nations global one-world political/religious solution to mankind’s problems.

Donald Keys had the highest admiration for Sri Chinmoy.  They shared the same worldview.   Carlos Santana’s spirituality was implanted in him by Chinmoy.  Carlos has been deceived.  Don’t you be.






[ii]  The Beatles Bible-


[iii] What is Transcendental Meditation? –













3 thoughts on “STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN, OR HIGHWAY TO HELL – Spirituality in Rock n’ Roll

  1. Chris Graves

    Once again Steve, your work of uncovering and of explaining to the average person on important topics is on display. Thank you

  2. “Still, the one who insists that Black Sabbath advocates Satanism or promulgates negativity and violence is engaging in willful ignorance and refusing to pay attention.” [Joe Bongiorno- Black Sabbath: The Illustrated Lyrics, Vol 1 pg 21]

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