[[I have been advised that this blog was too long for readers to continue interest. For that reason, I have broken the blog up into three nice tidbits and changed the title for you all to enjoy. I do appreciate the feedback, please do not hesitate to comment or critique. Thank you for reading my crazy Beatle rantings!! ]]
Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band was a ground breaking album of epic proportions. Arguably one of the most iconic album covers of the 20th century (if not THE most iconic). For decades, Beatle Fans, historians and researchers have pondered over the album and all its details wondering if there are coded messages within the album cover art.
In my Beatle Mystery seeking passions, the decoding of the Sgt. Pepper enigma has been a top priority for myself. I have spent hours and hours pouring over the imagery and the symbolism in this cover shot. I have spent even more hours delving through article after article, paper after paper of other researchers interpretations and findings. Researchers such as Beacon Films 1966 and Willemaus just to name two. Most of my own interpretations overlap those of the aforementioned researchers, as well as others. Has the Sgt. Pepper enigma been solved? Some say it has, some say there is not an enigma there in the first place to be solved. I disagree. This puzzle is so complex, so packed with layers upon layers, I am unsure whether it can ever truly be solved. But one thing is for certain- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band will continue to inspire and evoke intrigue for generations to come.
One popular theory is the suggestion that the Sgt. Pepper cover is an homage to Freemasonry. Upon first glance of the cover, the Freemasonry symbolism may not be apparent. However, there are at least 11 known Freemasons in the crowd of faces we see. The 11 known Freemasons on the cover are:
Aleister Crowley, H. G. Wells, Karl Marx, W. C. Fields, Sir Robert Peel, Aldous Huxley, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Tom Mix, Oscar Wilde and T. E. Lawrence.
As noted by Beacon Films 1966
: Of these, Crowley, Wells and Marx were all 33° masons and interestingly, if you place a compass over the record cover, Wells and Marx appear at 33°.
Well, that can’t be a coincidence, can it? That seems outright deliberate to me. With just that one simple fact leads me to believe that if you look deeper, there will be more to find. So let’s dig a bit deeper, and see what puzzle pieces we can uncover. In another thenumbernine blog, I discussed the inclusion of several USO organization members on the cover (see A Flaming Pye in the Sky
post). This goes to show that there are seemingly multiple layers to this enigma. However, if the homage to Freemasonry is indeed the answer to the puzzle here, then surely this can not be an isolated incident. We would expect to find more symbolism to back up the hypothesis, from Sgt. Pepper and other Beatles works.
A typical place to start is within the “famous faces” we see adorning the SPLHCB cover. These famous persons were hand-picked by John, Paul, George and Ringo themselves as well as Sir Peter Blake and Jan Hasworth (creative designers of the cover scene). Interestingly, there are a few characters that have interesting wordplay within their names. More specifically, I am speaking of:
Diana was the goddess of the hunt, the moon and nature. She was eventually equated with the Greek goddess Artemis, though she had an independent origin in Italy. Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and had a twin brother- Apollo. (ah those twins and doubles).
Dors (doors) could obviously suggest a door or gateway.
The last name here should be pretty straightforward. Interesting to note- The Temple of Diana is one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.
Marlene Dietrich was born Marie Magdalene Dietrich in Germany. Mary Magdalene is of course of biblical significance, and of importance in the Gnostic texts as well. The meaning of the name “Magdalene” is from a title which meant “of Magdala”. Mary Magdalene, a character in the New Testament, was named thus because she was from Magdala – a village on the Sea of Galilee whose name meant “tower” in Hebrew. She was cleaned of evil spirits by Jesus and then remained with him during his ministry, witnessing the crucifixion and the resurrection.
Dietrich literally translates to “Key” in German.
Mary means “love” or “beloved“
Marlene Dietrich’s name would symbolically translate to: “Beloved-Tower-Key“
Well, if you have the key
to the temple doors
, would you open it? Symbolically here, if we were to open the temple door, who/what would we find? From this outtake shot of the making of Sgt. Pepper below we can see a clearer picture of the face partially obscured by Diana Dors. Face #69- A Legionnaire from The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB). A fraternal and Masonic society in the UK in which John Lennon’s uncle Charlie was a member. Source
Some have remarked that this Legionnaire looks remarkably like Aleister Crowley, whom adorns the cover already in the upper left-hand corner of the shot. I can not deny this observation, but either way you come to a Masonic conclusion. Behind the Temple Doors, partially obscured or “occult/hidden” is a Freemason. Curious isn’t it?