Christopher M. Moreman
Ph.D. candidate, Theology, Religious Studies and Islamic Studies,
University of Wales; Lampeter
A biographical account of the much-maligned
heavy-metal icon, Ozzy Osbourne, and a comparison with the
demonisation of occultist, Aleister Crowley, will shed light
upon the evolution of the state and stance of the Christian
Right in terms of the "Satanism Scare" of the 1980s and '90s.
Both figures have at one time or another falsely been branded
Satanists, yet have come to be recognised as leaders in their
respective fields and openly praised by people of power and
influence in North American society today. The meaning of
this societal shift will be examined throughout the paper.
 The Christian Right has long been a powerful and vocal
component of American culture, influencing corporate and government
policy in the name of family values.
In an effort to maintain the moral ground, fundamentalist
activists have found, and derided, Satan's impact in a wide
array of activities, many of them rooted in popular culture.
In the same vein that ostensible witches were hunted and persecuted
in 15th century Europe, so Lucifer is rooted out
in such insidious occult areas as board games, television,
children's movies, and pop music. Any mention of New Age spirituality,
astrology, witchcraft, or the Devil himself is viewed as the
epitome of evil. Parker Brother's ouija board, fantasy role-playing
games, Harry Potter, and Black Sabbath have all been singled
out for their Satanic influences. The following paper aims
to focus specifically on one such figure in an attempt to
understand the nature of this derision and how it may be evolving
in the new millennium.
 Branded a Satanist since his days in
Black Sabbath, at the vanguard of the heavy-metal rock genre,
the now self-proclaimed Prince of Darkness has become a household
name and veritable Father of the Year. Through a brief biographical
sketch, it becomes obvious that Ozzy Osbourne is far from
a worshipper of the Dark Lord, but simply a talented iconoclast
with a flair for creating controversy, and thus publicity.
A comparison can be made between Osbourne and the turn of
the century occultist, Aleister Crowley. Crowley too was branded
a devil-worshipper, and equally relished the attention that
came with the title of "Most Evil Man in the World." The connection
between the two has been reinforced by Osbourne's song, "Mr.
Crowley," which has been described by some as an homage to
the Great Beast himself. While neither of these men actually
worshipped the Devil, their anti-authoritarianism, combined
with such vices as drugs and women, made them both suitable
straw men against whom conservative moralists might rail.
With the recent success of The Osbournes,
the most popular television program in MTV's history, Ozzy
Osbourne has taken on a new role as family man. The formerly
demonised Osbourne has become an acceptable role model, applauded
even by the president of the United States. Certainly, such
a reversal of public perception says much for the influence
of the Christian Right on North American culture today.
I was looking back on my life
And all the things I've done to me
I'm still looking for the answers
I'm still searching for the key
The wreckage of my past keeps haunting
It just won't leave me alone
I still find it all a mystery
Could it be a dream?
The road to nowhere leads to me
(Ozzy Osbourne, "Road to Nowhere," No
More Tears, 1991)
 In 1948, John Osbourne was born into
a struggling, working-class family in Birmingham, England.
Suffering from dyslexia and seeing the economic hardship of
his family, Ozzy left school at the age of fifteen. Though
he worked a number of menial jobs, from plumber's assistant
to killing cows in a slaughterhouse, none satisfied him either
emotionally or financially. He opted for a brief life of crime
that saw him arrested more than once for petty theft and burglary.
Two months in prison convinced him that crime was not the
path he wanted to take.
 Still searching for himself, Ozzy decided
to follow the dreams of many young Brits inspired by the recent
success of the Beatles. With no technical skills as either
a musician or a singer, Ozzy placed an ad in a local record
store stating pragmatically: "Ozzy Zig seeks gig. Owns own
PA." From this posting, he soon joined three other local musicians,
Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward, and together they
and formed a blues band, which were de riguer for the
day. Originally called the Polka Tulk Blues Band, they later
changed the name to Earth. Meeting with little success, the
band sought change. Noting that people paid to see watch movies
that scared them, the band mused that people might similarly
pay to listen to scary music. Inspired by the title of a Boris
Karloff horror film, Geezer Butler, the group's bassist, penned
the song, "Black Sabbath," the title of which would also become
their new name. With the renamed band, they transformed the
everyday blues they had been playing into a plodding, sombre
sound, combined this with lyrics drawn from gothic horror,
and thus aimed to strike fear into the hearts of those who
would listen. Thus, from the modest union of, in Ozzy's words,
"four dimps from Birmingham,"
the heavy metal rock genre was born.
What is this that stands before me?
Figure in black which points at me
Turn around quick, and start to run
Find out I'm the chosen one
(Black Sabbath, "Black Sabbath," Black
 Black Sabbath, emerging from the poor,
working class of Birmingham had great difficulty breaking
into the busy London music scene. They infused common rock
and roll with an aggressive sense of frustration known only
to the silent working classes of the time. This sense of frustration
would eventually catch on with a vast population that connected
with Black Sabbath at an emotional level. Still, the rock
establishment was slow to catch on. The dichotomy between
the flighty attitudes of the hippie movement and the heavy
pessimism of the lower class is expressed in the words of
Black Sabbath ... represent everything
that the rock establishment rejected. During the Sixties
rock had become inextricably involved with a kind of liberal
American peace and love movement that embraced everything
from diet to politics. The idea of a youth movement devoted
to peace in Vietnam, free love and rock music ... left many
people cold, particularly working class youth who could
not identify with this esoteric concern for higher things,
when they were still more worried about getting a job, a
fast car and a girlfriend. [This trend] ... tended to isolate
a large section of the potential audience for rock.
 Black Sabbath catered to the emotions
of the disenfranchised. As drummer, Bill Ward, put it, "Most
people are on a permanent down ... but just aren't aware of
it. We're trying to express it for the people."
They combined gothic horror with the dark and gloomy world-view
of the downtrodden and added a thunderous soundtrack that
expressed powerfully the turbulence of their own lives. Sabbath
certainly succeeded in creating a musical style that might
instil fear, but they also unintentionally succeeded in encapsulating
the emotional state of a large segment of the silent population.
Building upon the sombre atmosphere of the music and lyrics,
the record company for Black Sabbath marketed the group with
an emphasis on Black Magic. The album contained a picture
of an inverted crucifix and a picture of a black-clad woman,
what many believed to be a witch. An early press release stated
that the band, with its name change from Earth to Black Sabbath,
was getting more in tune with the dark arts, going so far
as to claim that the bassist, Geezer Butler, had perfected
techniques to summon a demon. This first record was appropriately
released on a Friday 13th in 1970.
 As part of the counter-culture movement
growing out of the '60s and into the '70s, many who had become
dissatisfied with traditional society and religion were turning
to alternative forms of spirituality, often in the form of
occult philosophies and popularised Eastern mysticism. Almost
immediately, the band issued denials of any involvement in
black magic and Satanism. Although they were interested in
gothic subject matter, actual involvement in the occult terrified
them. Still, covens of witches invited them to play at black
masses and Satanists stalked the halls of their hotels. Alex
Sanders, one of the early fathers of the burgeoning Wiccan
movement, invited Black Sabbath to play a special concert
for a ritual at Stonehenge. When they refused, however, the
self-proclaimed "King of the Witches"
is said to have put a curse upon them. In response to the
unwanted attention, Sabbath began wearing hastily constructed
aluminium crosses to ward away evil, but this was no avail
in warding off their image as a group of occultists and Satan
worshippers. While some critics were condemning Black Sabbath
as, "Black Magic for the sick masses,"
Geezer replied, "People like us because they want to listen
to our music, not because of any black magic gimmicks. We
only do two numbers about black magic in fact, and they are
both warnings against it."
Despite their attempts, the media latched onto the notion
of their Satanic involvement and the image stuck.
 Their music was not the only aspect
of Black Sabbath that provoked fear, however, as, in addition
to their working-class heritage and occult persona, the lifestyle
adopted by the young rising stars was less than conservative.
With increasing success, the temptations of fawning young
women and recreational drugs consumed the young foursome,
like many thrust suddenly and drastically into fame and fortune.
Within a decade of their first album, Black Sabbath were a
gang of drug-addicted alcoholics living in a continuous daze,
though somehow still capable of producing immensely popular
music. And this was only background for the derision that
would later face Ozzy when he embarked upon his solo career
in the 1980s.
Yesterday has been and gone
Tomorrow will I find the sun or will
Everybody's having fun except me I'm
the lonely one
I live in shame
I said Good bye to romance, yeah
Goodbye to friends, I tell you
Goodbye to all the past
I guess that we'll meet, we'll meet
in the end
(Ozzy Osbourne, "Goodbye to Romance,"
Blizzard of Ozz, 1980)
 After a decade with Black Sabbath, Ozzy
was fired, ostensibly due to his over-indulgence in drugs
and alcohol, although his lack of technical musical knowledge
and his compulsive wildness had always made him somewhat of
an outsider among the four. Succumbing to a deep depression
after losing his best friends, combined with the recent deaths
of both his parents and a separation from his first wife,
Ozzy locked himself in a hotel room with the determined goal
of drinking his way to oblivion. He was only saved from himself
when Sharon Arden, the daughter of manager Don Arden, arrived
at his door to claim a debt. When she saw Ozzy's deplorable
state, she promised to become his manager if he would promise
to clean himself up. With her confidence in him, Ozzy gained
a renewed spirit and launched his solo career with the 1980
album, The Blizzard of Ozz. Unleashed in his own right,
Ozzy's manic personality not only entrenched his name as a
rock and roll icon but also enraged conservative sensibilities
like never before.
 For example, one of his most famous
episodes occurred when he was supposed to make a grand entrance
at a CBS meeting of executives to negotiate the release of
his first album in America. He planned to enter with a flourish,
letting loose doves from his robes that would fly about the
room. After releasing one dove, however, he was overcome in
his drunkenness by the compulsion to bite the head off the
other, tossing its lifeless body before the shocked executives.
Alhough he was immediately escorted from the premises, this
startling display convinced the executives of the marketability
of this "Madman of Rock." Though Ozzy has always claimed that
the dove incident was unplanned, he easily incorporated such
behaviour into his stage act and embraced the role of Madman.
In his increasing efforts to outdo both
himself and the growing number of heavy metal bands that sprung
up during the 1980s, Ozzy staged more and more outrageous
shows involving monstrous costumes, gothic stage sets, and
even the launching of butchered meats into the audience as
Ozzy appeared to explode before their eyes. Ozzy appreciated
so-called fan participation as the audience began to bring
its own meat to throw back, which culminated in Ozzy's most
infamous moment as someone threw a live bat on stage. Apparently,
the animal lay stunned and motionless while Ozzy picked it
up, and thinking it was rubber, decapitated it with his teeth.
This media frenzy caused by that incident continues to haunt
Ozzy to this day. In a recent interview in Rolling Stone,
Ozzy ruefully imagined his eventual obituary saying, "I guarantee
that if I was to die tonight, tomorrow it would be, 'Ozzy
Osbourne, the man who bit the head off a bat, died in his
hotel ...' I know that's coming." Of course, Ozzy's greatest asset
has always been to capitalise on all of the publicity he received,
and as the conservative middle-class increasingly hated him,
the younger generation flocked to him as the ultimate symbol
They couldn't see what I thought would
be so obvious
They hide behind the laws they make
for all of us
The ministry of truth that deals with
The ministry of peace that sits on
I'm washing my hands of what they're
tryin' to do
It's for me, it's for me
It's for you, it's for you
I'm just a rock 'n' roll rebel
I'll tell you no lies
They think I worship the devil
They must be stupid or blind
I'm just a rock 'n' roll rebel
(Ozzy Osbourne, "Rock 'n' Roll Rebel,"
Bark at the Moon, 1983)
 The 1980s saw the outbreak of a so-called
Satan-scare. Individuals began to "recover" lost memories
of ritual sexual abuse at the hands of hidden Satanic cults,
and children started to report such abuse at the hands of
day-care workers who were also Satanists in disguise. Throughout
the decade, a veritable witch-hunt erupted with Satanists
thought to be ritually abusing thousands of children across
the country so insidiously that no physical traces could ever
be found. Rather than suggesting the implausibility of such
a widespread cult, the lack of evidence was looked upon as
proof for the extreme craftiness of the Satanists involved.
As a result, a great many innocent people were branded Satanists,
ruining careers and punishing some with unwarranted harassment
and even jail. It has been suggested that a declining social
system combined with a growing sense of helplessness and lack
of faith in big government provoked the need for a scapegoat
of some kind.
A culture of conservative Christianity thus responded in an
extreme way to the proliferation of cults and new religious
movements (NRMs) that sprung out of the 1960s.
 Many of these NRMs professed beliefs
in pagan deities, magic, and the occult, directly provoking
and questioning the established Christian world-view. The
sources of this diversification of spirituality can be debated
beyond the bounds of the present paper, but it is likely that
an increasingly technologically based world based on secular
scientism and corporate profiteering had marginalised a vast
swath of the younger population, forcing upon them existential
questions to which traditional religion failed to supply satisfactory
answers. Many of those disenfranchised by a stagnant Christianity
moved to more diverse forms of spirituality. Eastern mysticism
offered a direct experience of the divine while occult magics
promised the means to control one's own destiny in ways otherwise
impossible in a technocratic age.
 Alongside this widespread rejection
of science and Christianity was a simultaneous embrace of
fundamentalist Christianity among the more conservative elements
of society, which parallels the need felt by many of those
who had left the Church to seek a more direct experience of
the divine. Certainly, Christian sects exhibiting such direct
contact with the divine as glossolalia (or speaking in tongues),
faith healing, or other kinds of very personal miracles have
existed throughout the history of the United States, but they
truly came to the fore in the wake of the anti-establishment
movement of the 1960s. Bill Ellis compares these kinds of
direct experience of God with the ceremonial magick of Aleister
Crowley, stating that, "objectively speaking, their gifts
often were indistinguishable from magical practices." In this way, then, Ellis sets up Christian fundamentalists as
not only opponents of, but competitors with the NRMs of the
 Steve Bruce contends, "In part fundamentalism
was a response to the rise of secular labour politics, higher
criticism, and Darwinism but more generally it was a response
to the modern world." Evangelists, led by the likes of Jerry Falwell
and his "Moral Majority," gathered conservatives of all stripes
from orthodox Jews to born-again Christians under one banner
to combat what they perceived as the moral decay of society,
which could only be blamed on the influence of Lucifer in
the world at large. In an abruptly changing world, these conservatives
reacted by clinging to the notion that religious truth was
timeless and unchanging.
Music, as the popular expression of generational angst for
countless ages, not surprisingly became embroiled in the war
being waged over the souls of America's children. Ozzy Osbourne,
and musicians like him, whose music appealed to that large
audience of young people desirous of social change, became
instant targets as perceived leaders in the march towards
moral degradation. As Joel Best states in an essay on the
Discussions of Satanism in the mass media
usually begin with heavy metal music. This is an obvious
target, since several well-known bands use satanic imagery
in their lyrics, album covers, stage sets, and costumes.
This can be seen as simply the most recent escalation of
the rebellious posture that has always been rock's stock
in trade. Each generation needs new symbols of revolt ...
 The link between fundamentalist Christianity
and the political right grew throughout the 1980s. Hill and
Owen go s far as to suggest that before 1979, nobody had ever
heard of a politico-religious Christian conservative movement. Christian fundamentalists entered
the political stage in earnest, however, with the election
of Ronald Reagan, who courted them vigorously. Falwell's Moral
Majority made the claim that the conservative Christian population
had until then been a silent majority, and that the time had
come to stand up and be counted. Certainly, political clout
gave the Christian Right a strong voice and the appearance
of truly being a force to be reckoned with.
 Tipper Gore, a prominent activist for
the suppression of rock music for its subversive powers, is
quoted as saying: "Crimes rooted in devil worship are escalating
nation-wide. Teenagers and adolescents are most often involved
and heavy metal music serves as a catalyst for their involvement." A Senate hearing committee was organised to
investigate what many in government believed to be the moral
degradation of society through the misuse of free speech rights.
During this hearing, rock music in general was described as,
"a plague of messages about sexual promiscuity, bisexuality,
incest, sado-masochism, Satanism, drug use, alcohol abuse
and constantly, misogyny." Statements such as these became
commonplace by the end of the 1980s, despite a complete lack
of evidence for either widespread devil worship or a link
between music and teenage crime.
 Now, Ozzy Osbourne had accepted the
publicity that came with his image of the Devil's agent and
fostered that of a lunatic. He denied any wrong doing both
in interviews and in his lyrics, while at the same time portraying
what he considered a demonic character on stage. The vices
of women, drugs and alcohol, a compulsively manic personality,
and a continued focus on themes from horror, madness and the
occult made him the perfect example of all that was evil in
popular music affecting the youth of the day. One Christian
preacher, Jeff Godwin, decried Ozzy's drunken decapitation
of the dove as the symbolic destruction of the Holy Spirit,
which appeared in Luke in the form of a dove. He was also accused of urging
his fans to commit suicide through the use of subliminal and
so-called "back masked" lyrics, a charge that took almost a decade to be thrown out of court
once and for all. To all of these claims, Ozzy responded with
defiance by simply absorbing the charges into his stage persona
and in the process mocking them through such actions as actually
including comical messages recorded in reverse on later albums
and even striking back at the Christian Right with piercing
lyrics. The most poignant example of this latter tactic appears
in the song, "Miracle Man," in which Ozzy harps on the hypocrisy
of "little Jimmy sinner," Jimmy Swaggert, whose disgrace, among those
of other evangelists, led to the folding of the Moral Majority
by the end of the 1980s.
 Where the media had at first sensationally
labelled Ozzy and Black Sabbath devil worshippers, amid the
anti-establishment, and indeed often anti-Christian, sentiment
of the 1960s, the Christian Right harshly reinforced this
view with the ferocious determination of those who tried witches
at Salem. Ozzy became at once the reviled demon of the conservatives
and coasted to stardom on the maxim that no publicity is bad
Mr. Crowley, what went on in your head
Mr. Crowley, did you talk with the
Your life style to me seemed so tragic
With the thrill of it all
You fooled all the people with magic
You waited on Satan's call
(Ozzy Osbourne, "Mr. Crowley," Blizzard
of Ozz, 1980)
 An interesting parallel exists between
Ozzy's relationship with conservative Christianity and that
of another controversial figure: Aleister Crowley. Ozzy himself
had further fostered the conception of his Satanism by singing
what some have called an homage to the early twentieth century
occultist and cult leader, "Mr. Crowley." While Ozzy has since
claimed that the song was written with little knowledge of
just who Crowley himself was and was simply in keeping with
his stage persona, the song provides a connection that is
interesting in many ways. The differences are as important
as the similarities between these two figures in understanding
the position of Christian fundamentalists in terms of popular
 Crowley was born in Leamington Spa,
England, coincidentally close to
Birmingham, in 1875.
Quite unlike Osbourne, Crowley was born into an upper-class
family and went on to attend university at Cambridge. Whereas
the members of Black Sabbath struggled against a society that
privileged the rich to the detriment of the poor in an effort
to make a name for themselves within it, Crowley's turmoil
was that of a bored aristocrat seeking guidance and personal
understanding. From a young age, Crowley rebelled against
the Victorian mores of his rich and rigidly religious family,
even rejecting his given name, Edward Alexander, in favour
of Aleister. While he was the son of a preacher, he denounced
Christianity vehemently, going so far as to call himself by
the antagonistic title of, "The Beast 666." He rebelled not
only against his family, but against the system in which he
had been raised, which it must be said, is the normal human
reaction of youth. In fact, it is just such a spirit of rebellion
that propelled Black Sabbath to success. Crowley, however,
took his social recalcitrance to extremes, the reasons for
which will never be known for certain.
 Unsatisfied with university education,
Crowley impatiently sought out alternative modes of learning
and understanding. He soon came into contact with the various
occult movements of the early twentieth century and eagerly
studied their ideas. He sought out a more personally rewarding,
and empowering, wisdom in the occult society known as the
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which had been instrumental
in organising a wide variety of esoterica into a single system
of thought, and this was readily absorbed by the young Crowley.
After an early clash of egos, Crowley was forced to leave
the cult and began one of his own design, incorporating what
esoteric knowledge he had gained with his own penchant for
sexual deviance, forming a highly stylised form of sex magic
that characterised his spiritual and personal development. Later, he claims to have begun to receive messages
from a divine entity, and the wisdom conveyed from this personage
formed the core of Crowley's faith, the key concept of which
is summed up in his Law of Thelema: "Do as thou Wilt shall
be the whole of the Law; Love is the Law, Love under Will."
 Crowley's maxim has often been misunderstood
as a hedonistic philosophy, which is an understandable interpretation
when Crowley's sexual proclivities and increasing drug use
are taken into account. In fact, Crowley's deeper interest
lay in the power of the Will to alter the course of destiny,
and to this end he applied his own style of magickåthe "k"
added by Crowley to differentiate his from the mundane magic
of stage magicians.
 He attracted a great amount of media
attention through the combination of his highly controversial
behaviour coupled with his own huge ego, and the misunderstandings
of his philosophy only fuelled the fires. Crowley was apparently
not bothered by the negative attention he was receiving. Lawrence
Sutin, Crowley's biographer, claims: "If Crowley had no practical
career in mind, he nonetheless was fired by at least one worldly
aspiration. Fame, above all, was the laurel he wished for." Aside from his flagrant role as a social contrarian,
Crowley also self-published numerous tracts of poetry and
occult philosophy. None of these met with any commercial success,
however, and so the Beast had to resort to other means to
attract attention to himself. Apparently fame and infamy were
indistinguishable to the self-important Crowley. He relished
the designation bestowed upon by the newspapers as "The Most
Wicked Man in the World." He flaunted his position as a cult
leader and readily displayed his condemnation of strict Christian
morals, notably through his credo, the Law of Thelema. He
believed, at least as far as the guilt-ridden conscience of
his Christian upbringing would allow, that humans should do
whatever they pleased according to their own inner desires.
This belief justified his own deep sexual perversions in the
face of a highly conservative culture.
 An example of how Crowley made
a name for himself as the pet villain of the media appears
during World War II, when Crowley left Britain for the United
States. There, Crowley wrote prolifically, in addition to
his influential ideas on ritual magick, in defence of the
Nazis during the Second World War and spoke polemically about
the advantages of drug use in spiritual endeavours, especially
cocaine and heroin.
Though he claimed that his defence of Germany had been written
in satire as a kind of reverse propaganda campaign once it
became clear that the Nazis were going to lose, he had already
become reviled by the great majority of people who had any
exposure to the media.
 Despite the controversy that surrounded
his life, Crowley's greatest achievement is that he added
much to the advancement of modern occultism. In fact, the
modern Wiccan movement can be traced, in part, back to ideas
originating in his thoughts and writing, especially in many
of the ritual details. Certainly, most modern Wiccans would
deny that such a connection exists, possibly from fear of
the Great Beast himself, and likely also because of the sinister
reputation of the man and his beliefs. Still, the link is
there. Even the so-called Wiccan Rede echoes Crowley's Law
of Thelema in stating, "An' if it harm none, do as ye will."
Gerald Gardner, yet another inveterate self-publicist and
the founder of the modern Wicca movement, had met Aleister
Crowley on at least one occasion and unabashedly borrowed
much from him for his Book of Shadowsåa kind of personal holy
book of rituals for Wiccans. During their meeting, Gardner, who was also a Freemason as well
as self-professed Witch, was granted a charter to establish
his own branch of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), the cult
that Crowley headed at his death. Allen Greenfield suggests
the possibility that Gardner=s Wicca might simply have been
an imaginative use of this charter. In any event, what is certain
is that Aleister Crowley lies at the roots of the Wiccan movement,
if only as an inspirational tool for Gardner's own thoughts.
Wicca has since become the largest of the NRMs to have grown
out of the 1960s in America,
capturing in many ways the essence of Crowley's anti-authoritarian
and anti-Christian leanings. To some extent, Wicca, or at
least the ever-present move towards individual spirituality
over the hierarchical systems of established religion, can
be seen as the development of the New Age predicted by Crowley.
Still, he died poor, a drug addict, and completely alone,
having ostracised himself totally from the society that he
sought to change through sheer force of will.
 Aside from such coincidental facts
as both Osbourne and Crowley hail from the same county in
England, and that the former was born less than a year after
the latter died, much about their lives can be contrasted
as well as compared. Their differences are important at a
fundamental level: Crowley was destructively defiant and self-absorbed,
with his main motivation that of self-indulgence, however
pure he may have imagined this ultimate goal to be; Ozzy,
on the other hand, is an entertainer, pure and simple, and
he is prepared to go to extremes for the sake of pleasing
the audience. As Ozzy puts it:
Frankly, the only difference between vaudeville
and modern music is electric guitars and microphones. It's
basically, "Is everybody happy?" "Yeah!" "What about you
over here, my friend?" It's the same trick.
 At the same time, however, though their
deepest motives are different, they share the need for fame,
both going to extremes to attain it. This selfish need is
couched in different forms by both men, one actively seeking
to change society despite the people, with the other seeking
only to please the people in the midst of a society-changing
 Osbourne and Crowley grew out widely
divergent backgrounds, although each ended up at war with
the same conventional forces. Ozzy struggled from poverty
to invade the upper-class music audience, while Crowley rebelled
against the strict morality of his own posh upbringing. As
rebels, they have both been embraced by the counter-culture
as icons of one sort or another. Ozzy's acceptance by the
mainstream will be discussed further below, while Crowley's
is best summed up in the words of his biographer once againåin
fact, Sutin's words might almost equally be applied to Osbourne
as to their intended recipient:
It would seem that Crowley is as irresistible
a fantasy for the counter-culture (which typically casts
him as a defiant rebel who stood for individual freedom
first and foremost, this despite Crowley's lifelong aristocraticåand
even, at times, fascistic å bent in politics) as he is for
Christian fundamentalists (who have, paradoxically, succeeded
in perpetuating Crowley's fame by casting him as the Evil
Exemplar best suited to sustain a healthy fear of the Devil
in the faithful).
 Additionally, they both share the status
of innovators in their respective fields, one influencing
the development of New Age ideology and the other creating
a lasting genre of powerful new music. In both cases, their
innovations have left a lasting impact on the counter-culture
due to their struggles against conformity on the one hand,
and further encouraged by the adverse reaction of the conservative
ruling classes on the other. Their common vices of women and
drugs, combined with a blatant rejection of the traditional
Christian establishment, only add to their shared image as
enemies of the conservative Christian Right and the heroes
of anti-conformist Liberal Left. While Crowley died with neither
redemption nor recognition, though his work is now reaching
a wider mainstream audience, Ozzy Osbourne has recently been
cast in a new and friendlier light, reflecting what may be
a radically changing social climate.
Crazy, but that's how it goes
Millions of people
living as foes
Maybe it's not too late
To learn how to love
And forget how to hate
(Ozzy Osbourne, "Crazy Train," Blizzard
of Ozz, 1980)
 In 2002, MTV premiered a new "reality-TV"
show called The Osbournes, which subsequently went
on to become, against all expectations, the most successful
television program in the network's history. Cameras followed
Ozzy, his wife and manager Sharon, and two of their children,
day and night over a couple of months in order to provide
viewers a voyeuristic glimpse into the life of an ageing rock
icon. The show is part documentary and part situation comedy,
with the Osbourne family compared to other unconventional
TV families such as the Addamses, Simpsons, and the Beverly
Hillbillies. Since the show is unrehearsed
and unscripted, revealing the family as their true selves,
most of the comedy, aside from giggling at "bleeped" profanity,
comes from the fact that here is the self-proclaimed Prince
of Darkness being unmasked for the doddering, middle-aged
father and emasculated husband that he truly is. Episodes
show Ozzy as the prototypical dad, calling his son to figure
out how to work the remote control and embarrassing his daughter
with his safe-sex advice. The ravages of drug-abuse are obvious
as he shakes and stutters in stark contrast to his still forceful
stage presence. The one thing that comes through most clearly,
and likely accounts for much of the show's appeal to a mass
audience, is Ozzy's humanity, especially in the light of the
recent illness of his wife and pillar of his life. In the
light of the love that permeates his admittedly eccentric
family, Ozzy's image as devil worshipper and madman of rock
appears blatantly painted on as Ozzy still mugs for media
cameras with a wild, gaping grimace while subsequently hugging
his family tenderly.
 Ozzy himself acknowledges the dysfunctional
aspects of his family, but then asks the question, who should
people take as a realistic role model anyway?
As the verbal battles between Ozzy and the televangelists
revealed, these self-righteous moralists are certainly not
free from sin. One sign of a softening stance to the condemnation
of Ozzy, and heavy metal music in general, can be seen in
the theme song of The Osbournes sung by squeaky-clean
Pat Boone. The song itself is a cover of one of Ozzy's biggest
hits, "Crazy Train." Boone had himself gotten in trouble with
the Christian right in 1996-97 when he released a heavy metal
cover album featuring his own lounge-style renditions of several
heavy metal classics. For conspiring with the purveyors of
such "filth," Boone lost his half-hour weekly evangelical
program on the religious radio network, Trinity Broadcasting
Network. Despite Boone's decades-long career as a highly vocal
Christian entertainer, his involvement with "devil music"
was enough to have him banned. The experience caused Boone
to re-evaluate his own tendency to judge others from the stand-point
of right-wing conservatism:
I have been identified in the minds of
millions of people as another one of those metal scourges
and scumbags, and I am being judged in the same way that
I judged ...Christians have got to deal with this judgmental,
self-righteous, opinionated attitude that if somebody doesn't
dress like we dress, or doesn't like the same music, or
maybe rides a Harley-Davidson, he must be a heathen.
 This lesson is well-taken in the face
of Ozzy's revealed humanity; his label as Prince of Darkness
seems untenable as anything more than a stage name. Pat Boone's
rendition of Ozzy's most well-known song, "Crazy Train," has
become the theme to The Osbournes' hit TV series. Several
of the most influential moral pundits in Washington have come
to embrace Osbourne in a complete reversal of their condemnation
of his demonic influence on their children. Former Vice-President
Dan Quayle, who once attacked Murphy Brown for advocating
single mother-hood, has praised The Osbournes as an
example of nuclear family values as well as sending a clear
anti-drug message, though he remains admittedly uncomfortable
with the foul language. Current U.S. President George W. Bush
also singled out Ozzy at the annual correspondents' dinner
in Washington in a bit of good humour:
"The thing about Ozzy is, he's made a
lot of big hit recordings," Bush told the audience. "'Party
With the Animals.' 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.' 'Facing Hell.'
'Black Skies' and 'Bloodbath in Paradise.' Ozzy, Mom loves
 This is not to say that suddenly with
The Osbournes all criticism of Ozzy's Satanic links has ceased,
but with wide-ranging acceptance by a mass audience and further
approval from those in power, the voice of contention has
certainly been subdued to a great extent. An example of the
attitude taken by those who still see Ozzy in the darkest
of lights comes from Joseph Farrah, editor of the right-wing
online news source WorldNetDaily.com, who, while complaining
that comments from the President and others have created an
uncomfortable atmosphere in which to criticise Ozzy, warns:
"He is a depraved moral terrorist, seducing young kids who
don't know any better into deadly lifestyles."
I'm not the kind of person you think
I'm not the Anti-Christ or the Ironman
But I still love the feeling I get
I hope you'll never stop 'cause
It gets me through ... Yeah
I'm just tryin' to live ... Yeah
(Ozzy Osbourne, "Gets me Through," Down
to Earth, 2001)
 The occultism of Aleister Crowley has
become increasingly accepted to the extent that his once highly
controversial texts can now be found in any mass-market bookstore.
His rituals have been watered down and merged with New Age
liberalism, most clearly represented by the Wiccan movement,
which itself has been largely accepted into the mainstream,
sometimes even given full recognition as an established religion.
In the same way, Ozzy Osbourne has been accepted as just another
entertainer, and one who has worked his way from the back
streets of England to international success. Black Sabbath
gained their following by appealing to the emotions of those
who felt oppressed and ignored by society. The defensive reaction
of the conservative ruling class, in both the religious and
secular realms, only served to cement Ozzy as a symbol of
rebellion. Ozzy continues to speak to the disaffected among
us, though given the span of his career one might rightly
imagine that these no longer only comprise youths but a cross-generational
swath of fans. Certainly, the jarring juxtaposition of father
and madman is one that must give even the most casual thinker
pause for thought. It casts a shade of grey in an era when
celebrity has become a veritable cult in its own right: Ozzy
is not a demon, nor is he a saint; he is an ordinary guy who
has led a very extra-ordinary life. The recent revelation
that after years of perceived moral corruption, Ozzy has achieved
the American ideal in both career and family can surely be
seen as a vindication of the counter-cultural revolution and
the ultimate failure of Christian fundamentalism in its reactionary
attitude and reliance upon black-and-white images of what
constitutes right and wrong. Steve Bruce argues that all along
the power of the Christian Right had been "hysterical exaggerations;" the influence they had at the
beginning of the 1980s was due more to the element of surprise
than to their actually wielding a true Moral Majority. He
further argues that once the mainstream had been given a chance
to evaluate the new situation and adapt, they reacted by pushing
the movement back to the fringes of social reality.
Certainly, the discussion in this paper lends support to this
thesis, especially in the context of Ozzy Osbourne's victimisation
in the 1980s. More appropriate to the data on Aleister Crowley,
however, is Arthur Schlesinger's argument that the Moral Majority
is but one piece of an historical cycle of conservative reaction
that wanes and waxes with each passing generation; the 1980s
saw the Moral Majority, the 1950s saw the rise of Billy Graham,
while the 1920s saw prohibition and fundamentalist attacks
on Darwinian theory in schools. What can be certain is that
Christian fundamentalism has been an important facet of America
society and continues to inform the American psyche, though
their voice has ebbed back to a level concomitant with their
actual level of support. On a purely practical level, Pat
Boone, who has experienced both sides of this issue, sums
up what might be the most simple conclusion to draw from the
entire discussion: "If we're going to communicate with our
culture, we've got to find ways to commend as well as to condemn.
Otherwise, what kind of ministry are we going to have?"
Based on a paper presented at the Annual Conference of the
Eastern-International Region of the American Academy of Religion,
Mercyhurst College, Erie, PA, 2003.
William Packard provides a detailed history of evangelism
and fundamentalism in America in his book, Evangelism in
America: From Tents to TV (NY: Paragon House, 1988).
Most of the biographical material found in this paper has
been culled from a number of sources and is widely known on
the internet, in vast magazine interviews, and in unauthorised
autobiographies. Specific reference will be indicated in endnotes.
Ozzy Osbourne, liner notes to Nativity in Black: A Tribute
to Black Sabbath, 1994.
Chris Welch, Black Sabbath (London: Proteus Books,
June Johns, King of the Witches: The World of Alex Sanders
(New York: Coward å McCann, 1970).
This song expresses Ozzy's mixed feelings over his exit from
David Fricke, "For Ozzy Osbourne, There is Reality Television
å And There is Real Life," Rolling Stone, 25 July 2002,
Ben M. Crouch and Kelly Damphousse, "Law Enforcement and the
Satanism-Crime Connection: A Survey of "Cult Cops"," in The
Satanism Scare, James T. Richardson, Joel Best, and David
G. Bomley, eds. (NY: Aldine De Gruyter, 1991), 192. Also see
Robert Hicks, In Pursuit of Satan: The Police and the Occult
(NY: Prometheus Books, 1991), 22-23.
Bill Ellis, Raising the Devil: Satanism, New Religions,
and the Media (Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky,
Steve Bruce, Pray TV: Televangelism in America (New
York: Routledge, 1990), 16.
Nielsen, Niels C., Fundamentalism, Mythos, and World Religions
(New York: SUNY Press, 1993), 24.
Joel Best, "Endangered Children in Antisatanist Rhetoric,"
in Richardson, Best, and Bomley, 101.
Hill, Sameul S. and Dennis E. Owen, The New Religious Political
Right in America (Nashville: Abingdon, 1982), 9.
Tipper Gore, "Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society," Forum
Report (published by the Council for Children, Inc.),
5 October 1988, 4, quoted in Hicks (1991).
George F. Will, "No One Blushes Anymore," Washington Post,
15 September 1985, citing United States Senate Committee on
Commerce Science and Transportation, Record Labelling Hearing
(Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 19 September
Luke 3:22; Jeff Godwin, The Devil's Disciples: The Truth
About Rock (Chino, CA: Chick Publications, 1985), 98.
For more information on back masking, see: James R. Lewis,
Satanism Today: An Encyclopedia of Religion, Folklore,
and Popular Culture (Oxford: ABC Clio, 2001), 19-20.
Ozzy Osbourne, "Miracle Man," No Rest for the Wicked,
Biographical sources on Crowley are widespread, particularly
on the Internet, but some of the best sources for information
on his life are the following: Lawrence Sutin's Do What
Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley (NY: St. Martin's
Press, 2000); Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend
(London: Sphere Books, 1972); John Symonds and Kenneth Grant,
eds., The Magical Record of the Beast 666:The Diaries of
Aleister Crowley, 1914-1920 (Montreal: Next Step Publications,
1972); Aleister Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley:
An Autohagiography, John Symonds and Kenneth Grant,
eds. (abridged edition; London: Cape, 1969); Percy Reginald
Stephensen, The Legend of Aleister Crowley: Being a Study
of the Documentary Evidence Relating to a Campaign of Personal
Vilification Unparalleled in Literary History (London
: Mandrake Press, 1930).
Certainly, one might surmise at the many possible interpretations
of his work, though even such an endeavour is troublesome
as Crowley filled his autobiographical literature with a mixture
of fact, fallacy, and poetic license. See, in particular,
For a very detailed discussion of the sexual behaviours ascribed
to and admitted to by Crowley in the name of spiritual practice,
see Burgo Partridge, A History of Orgies (London: Spring
Books, 1964), 193-204.
Sutin (2000), 48.
Some details of both of these facets of Crowley's life can
be found in his Diary of a Drug Fiend.
Ronald Hutton, The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British
Isles (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991), 334.
Allen H. Greenfield, "The Secret History of Modern Witchcraft,"
2003, online at <http://www.mindspring.com/~hellfire/wicca/>,
accessed 10 December 2003.
J. G. Melton, ed., New Age Encyclopedia (New York:
Gale Research, 1990), 313.
Fricke, "Ozzy Osbourne," 65.
Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt, 3.
Tom Gliatto and Alexis Chiu, "Daze of Their Lives," People,
9 December 2002, 68.
Ozzy Osbourne, "Ozzfest Interview," by Mary Ann Hobbs, BBC
Radio One, 2002.
Pat Boone, quoted in Edward Gilbreath, "Why Pat Boone Went
'Bad': His Controversial Mission to Interpret Pop Culture
for Cranky Christians," Christianity Today, 4 October
1999, vol. 43, no. 11, 56, online at <http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/9tb/9tb056.html>,
accessed 26 June 2003.
David Montgomery, "Great & Powerful Ozz," Washington
Post, 6 May 2002, C01, online at <http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/
A37357-2002May5¬Found=true>, accessed 27 June
Joseph Farrah, "The Ozzy and Dubya Show," WorldNetDaily,
13 May 2002, online at <http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/
article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=27597>, accessed 27 June 2003.
Bruce, Pray TV, ix.
Steve Bruce, "The Inevitable Failure of the New Christian
Right," 7-20 in Steve Bruce, Peter Kivisto, and William H.
Swatos, Jr., eds., The Rapture of Politics (London:
Transaction Publishers, 1995); Steve Bruce, The Rise and
Fall of the New Christian Right (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1988).
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Cycles of American History
(1986), cited in Packard, Evangelism, 210-11.
Gilbreath, "Pat Boone," 56.