In my ongoing quest to unlock the Secrets of the Universe, there’s a first line in the new Bowie song Blackstar that I’ve been looking into:
” In the villa of Ormen “…
See the re-blogged item above for another blogger’s suggestions that the word Ormen may refer to such varied ideas as a viking Christian crusader/king/killer (i.e. a profession or renunciation of faith, by one king or the other), or else a serpent, a maggot, and/or a region of Norway.
Additionally, there’s an award-winning 1966 Swedish film called ” Ormen” (Serpent) that may portray a villa in it ( a film that Bowie perhaps has a stray memory of).
Lastly, spelling it as “Orman” leads to another possible locale, in Turkey, that does in fact feature vacation rental villas near the sea (maybe a spot Bowie’s been to?)
This morning I posted the following at Facebook, with a link to the official music video:
There are no atheists in foxholes. Considering this song and video (prominently featuring three men on crosses, and other biblical imagery), plus his song and video for “Lazarus”, Bowie had Jesus on his mind when he was staring mortality in the face. And if I may, I’m sure God had and has Bowie (and us) on His/Her/Their mind as well. “Heroes”? I’ve had a lot of them over the years. David Bowie is definitely in the team picture. So let’s take his lead and listen to our bandleader, manager, venue owner, True Friend, etc…the one who called himself The Son of Man, …the One who’s always seeking us, and calling out the chord changes, who didn’t just compose the song but literally invented “sound and vision”.
We shouldn’t have to be dying to consider what it means to live with a greater purpose in our minds and hearts. Follow up on your hunger for significance, for a divine connection, for answers to the Big Questions. David had the guts to keep at it. (And I’m glad you “fell to earth”, brother. Many thanks, see you when I get there.)
Then looking into that vague reference led me as well to a study of David Bowie’s life, death, and symbology/mythology over the years (and especially on his final album). There’s sometimes been a whiff of the occult (people like Alistair Crowley) in his lyrics, and in interviews, since the early 7Os. But this shape-shifting writer/performer may have just been “playing a part”, using such ideas for their thought-provoking power or public shock value, while not actually subscribing to them in full.
Over the years we see also Christian symbols (on this album alone: Lazarus, “prodigal son”, “virgin”, “atonement”, “Great I Am”), Jewish Kabbalah, modernist philosophers and painters, and all manner of other ideas, many rooted in the Romantic poets of the early 1800s, and/or early 20th century “mystics” like poet William Butler Yeats.
I’ve now also read through all the lyrics for the whole album (which can be found here) and Ormen seems one of only a few proper nouns he even used on this swan song project. Ever-evasive, he likely wanted it all left to a listener’s own subjective interpretation.
On the far end of the nutty spectrum, there are a few Illuminati/apocalypse-watchers who are calling the album prophetic, foretelling the coming of a mysterious Planet X, and a major shift in human existence during 2016. Since they said the same thing about 2012, I think we can relax about this one.
Star Man, wherever you’ve gone, thanks for blowing our minds while you walked among us.