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TRITONES & BURGERS: EXPLORING THE INTERSECTION OF MUSIC, RITUALS & FAST FOOD


Deep Dive - Are you unknowingly participating in a ritual when you walk into establishments like McDonalds and or Concerts, etc. ?

McDonalds Original Arch - Image credit: McDonalds


So, I have seen the posts on social media regarding the McDonalds logo/ sigil being found in ‘The Book of Black Magic’. I downloaded the book last week and didn’t see any picture, symbol, logo or sigil representing what we’ve seen at  McDonalds restaurants the past 88 years. I am not saying it’s not in ‘a’ book. I simply didn’t see it in the noted book as prescribed above. If you know the correct name of the book please share it with me.


There is still plenty of meat to unpack, pun intended…so let’s go.


As of 2022, there were approximately 40,275 McDonald's restaurants worldwide. The annual profits, based on the public information available, reports a full-year comparable sales growth of 9% in 2023, and a full-year systemwide sales* to loyalty members of over $20 billion, with a growth of more than 45% over the prior year. 


How is it that McDonalds, despite its sometimes bad press is still able to be the number 1 fast food chain in the world? Some say it’s their business model and a little bit of mojo. I tend to agree with both. 


Back in 1972, McDonald's sales reached 1.3 billion propelling it past Kentucky Fried Chicken, as the world's largest fast food chain. It has kept its position ever since. 


McDonald's is the nations leading buyer of processed potatoes, fish and meat worldwide. 300,000 cattle die each year as McDonald's customers down another 3 billion burgers. 


Ronald McDonald, the creepy mascot dishes out hamburgers, french fries, sundaes and apple pies... rivaling Santa, who only comes around once a year, and Micky Mouse as our children's most familiar characters.


How does McDonald's influence the daily life of so many people around the world? Have factors other than low cost, taste, fast service, and cleanliness contribute to its success? 


Could it be that in consuming McDonald's products and propaganda, Americans are not just eating and watching televison but are experiencing something comparable in some respects to a religious ritual?


Here me out, there are always several key takeaways to distinguish ritual from other behavior, according to anthropologist, Roy Rappaport. "Ritual events are conventionalized, repetitive, and stereotyped. They occur in special places, at regular times and exude a form of public worship. They include liturgical orders, set sequences of words and actions laid down by someone other than the current performer."

The Arch of Baal. - Image credit: Ancient origins


According to the 1978 Natural History magazine, rituals also convey information about participants and their cultural traditions. 


Performed year after year, generation after generation, they translate enduring messages, values and sentiments into observable action. Although some participants may be more strongly committed than others to the beliefs on which rituals are based, all people who take part in joint public acts signal their acceptance of an order that transcends their status as individuals.


Interestingly, there are some anthropologists that define rituals in a broader sense, writing about football in contemporary America. William Arens, author of “The Great American Football Ritual," Natural History Magazine, in 1975 points out that behavior can simultaneously have sacred as well as secular sports, while on another, it can be viewed as a public ritual.


While McDonald's appears to be just a mundane secular institution, simply a place to eat, it also assumes the attributes of a scared place. 


French sociologist Emile Durkheim pointed out that some societies worship the ridiculous as well as the sublime. The distinction between the two does not depend on the intrinsic qualities of the sacred symbol. Durkheim found that Australian aborigines often worship such non-imposing creatures as ducks, frogs, rabbits, and grubs...animals whose inherent qualities hardly could have been the origin of the religious sentiment they inspired. If frogs can be elevated to a sacred level, why not McDonalds?


Although for many of us, fast food restaurants seems to be just a place to eat, careful observation of what goes on in any eating place in this country reveals an astonishing degree of formality and behavioral uniformity on the part of both staff and customers. 


Particularly impressive is the relative invariance in act and utterance that has developed in the absence of a distinct, in your face theological doctrine. Rather, the ritual aspect of McDonald's rests on 21st century technology, and everyday work places that allocate a 1 hour lunch period daily, which have also contributed to the chains growth. 


An Americans devotion to McDonald's rests in part on uniformities associated with almost all McDonald's. The setting, architecture, food, ambiance, acts and utterances. 


The golden arches for example, serve as a familiar landmark, absent only in those areas where zoning laws prohibit certain signage. At one of the first McDonald's that once stood near the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, had a small sign, golden arches encircled in wrought iron. See image below. The restaurant had a contemporary brick structure and was best known for its stained glass windows, similar to ones you would see on a church. On bright days, sunlight would flood in on waiting customers through a skylight that could have been mistaken for a gothic cathedral. In the case of this McDonald's, it seemed the effect was to equate traditional religious symbols with golden arches.


McDonald's in Ann Arbor Michigan - Photo credit: Getty


The total McDonald's ambience invites comparison with sacred places. The chain stresses clean living and reaffirms traditional American values that transcend McDonald's itself. Max Boas and Steve Chain, biographers of McDonald's board chairman, Ray Kroc, report that after the hundredth McDonald's opened in 1959, Kroc leased a plane to survey likely sites for the chain's expansion. 


McDonald's would invade the suburbs by locating its outlets near traffic intersections, shopping centers, and churches. Steeples figured prominently in Krocs plan.  He believed that suburban church goer could be ‘preprogrammed’ consumers of McDonald's formula - quality, service and cleanliness.


When I was 16 years old I worked at a McDonald's in Chicago, on the South side. I typically ate lunch there and sometimes dinner. After a few months I began to notice, and subsequently observed more carefully that there was in fact ritualistic behavior happening there. 


Behind the counter, McDonald's employees are differentiated into such categories as male staff, female staff, and managers. While costumes/uniforms vary slightly from store to store and region, such apparel as McDonald's hats, ties, and shirts, along with dark pants and shiny black shoes are standard.



At the McDonald's I worked as a teenager the phrases uttered by salespeople are just as standard as those of the customers. 


If I ask for a quarter pounder, the ritual response is "will that be with cheese, Ma'am?" If I donot order french fries, the salesperson automatically incants, "will there be any fries today, Ma'am? And when I pick up my order, another employee says, "Have a nice day, Ma'am...come again."

Nonverbal behavior of McDonald's employees is also programmed. Prior to opening the spigot of the drink machine, they fill paper cups with ice exactly to the bottom of the golden arches that decorate them. As customers request food, salespeople look back to see if the desired item is available. If not, they reply, "that'll be a few minutes, sir or ma'am," after which the order of the next customer is taken, as the other person moves aside.


McDonald's lore of appropriate verbal and non behavioral is even taught at a seminary. Managers who attend choose either a two week basic operators course or an eleven day advanced operator's course. With a 360 page operations manual as their bible, students learn about food, equipment, and management techniques, delving into such esoteric subjects as buns, shortening, and carbonization. In gematria if you look up the word 'bun' McDonalds is usually the first word to come up, I will touch on this later. As to the word shortening, McDonald's fries are cooked in a blend of oil that includes canola, soybean, and hydrogenated soybean oil. The fries are also cooked with "natural beef flavor," which is derived from beef fat that contains wheat and milk deriatives. Notably, fat is the major contributor to the flavor development in meat. This is also what gives McDonalds fries their signature taste. As to some of the occult meaning for the term carbonization, in food processing, carbonization can refer to specific types of heat treatment used to preserve certain foods. 


This process involves heating the food to a high temperature in the absence of oxygen, which can help to prevent spoilage and extend the shelf life of the food. Another hidden meaning of carbonization in the context of food, particularly meats, on a charcoil grill. This process involves cooking the food over hot charcoal, which imparts a smoky flavor and can create a charred, crispy exterior while keeping interior tender and juicy. As to the 'bun' I read an article whereas Nicola Pitman, Mcdonald's director of menu innovation and management recently shared in a interview with a Canadian paper, that the bun has been upgraded. She adds, “it is all about heat retention. The goal of the upgrade is for customers to be able to feel that nice warm bun. Our guests are saying to us: 'I don't know what you've done differently," she continued, "but something is really good about this product today."


The new bun is slightly resized as well. The top half, called the crown is slightly shorter, while the bottom half, also know as 'the heel' is just a tad thicker. Both of these alterations make the bun warmer longer.


So, with the new bun, are we figuratively eating a head and a heel? Who’s head and whose heel?


As the students complete their courses they are filled 

with the spirit of McDonalds. Graduates take home such degrees as bachelor or master of hamburgerology to display in their stores. 

Their job is to spread the word, the secret success formula they have learned. 


Something is definitely changing in our world today, especially in music. Things that were once taboo are now part of the program. It seems there's been a shift in the cultural zeitgeist. A bold declaration of the god whom they serve. No more hiding. Smack dap in your face. They adore Lucifer.


Mainstream music artists such as Justin Timberlake, Bieber, PDiddy, Taylor Swift, Katie Perry, Travis Scott, Lil NAS X, Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé, who once told her fans “Give me your energy,” while performing at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orlean on September 24, 2016, during her Formation World Tour.


During the show, Beyoncé encouraged her fans to give her their energy, and shortly after, the lights in the arena went out! I was actually there, in the front row with other media tweeting (my old twitter handle @eotmpr which to this day, has yet to be reinstated behind the 2020 election saga.) I was proudly giving her fans a minute by minute take on all things Bey- Hive. This moment has since become a memorable part of her concert history, and the last time I would attend another concert by B.


In plain sight these famed stars are tasked with using symbolism and dark magic. Turning their performances into something akin to conjuring up  demons and such, causing mass chaos and death, with the hopes of destroying our world?


And as for McDonald's, well, it looks like their playbook isn’t much different as has been around for decades. 

It appears they’ve decided to add a bit more spice, and are now flipping tarot cards instead!


What does tarot have to do with burgers, buns and processed food?


To expound, in 2022 McDonald's partnered with Madam Adam, a tarot card reader with expertise in astrology, to offer readings to select customers. In order to be eligible for prizes customers needed to use the McDonald's app to buy a 'medium' order of fries. They would then visit Adams TikTok or Instagram to share their zodiac sign and name.


To get even weirder, Adam advertised the effort on her social media pages, encouraging people to ‘partake’ so they could learn their "fate."According to a statement from McDonalds, Adam planned to "randomly select a lucky few to receive custom readings" during a live stream. 


What’s suspect about the chain’s marketing effort, is that it coincided with mercury retrograde, which is a major astrological event whereas Mercury moves backward in orbit. A time when mercury laps Earth in its 88th 👀day move around the sun, causing Mercury's appearance to be retrograde from our perspective, here on Earth. (88 day versus our 365)

 

Am I the only one that thinks it’s weird for McDonald's to highlight its new marketing ploy during mercury retrograde? The exact moment when many attribute it to be associated with negative energy, misfortune, and chaos. Because mercury is associated with communication, news, travel, technology, and information, some believe it can lead to a variety of mishaps. Astrologers 

also believe that mercury retrograde can make people feel like their lives are going in the wrong direction, and that it’s time to reflect, relax, and rethink choices.


Many understand that using tarot is a form of divination. It is the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge, usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers.


Have you heard of the connection with McDonald's golden arches as related to the temple of Baal? 

Ruins of the Monumental Arch in 2010 - Image credit: Wikipedia


The temple of Baal, is an ancient temple dedicated to the deity, located in Palmyra, Syria. The temple, consecrated to the Mesopotamian god was worshipped at Palmyra in triad with the lunar god Aglibol and the sun god Yarhibol, formed the center of religious life in Palmyra. The ruins were considered among the best preserved until they were further destroyed by the Islamic State in August 2015. The arched main entrance into the temple is still intact, as well as its exterior walls and fortified gate.


The original arch of Palmyra was built by the Romans in the second century as an entrance to a major temple of Baal that had already existed for 3000 years in Syria. This temple had a powerful furnace below a bronze statue with a bull’s head, which represented the god.


Photo by Bryan Hong (Brybry26), CC BY-SA 2.5 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5, via Wikimedia Commons


Temple priests would place children and babies into its outstretched arms who would then roll into the blazing fire as human sacrifices. Loud drumbeats would drown out the screams.


Temple prostitutes were used so that men or women who sought help from Baal would perform lewd acts with the prostitutes as a form of “worship.” It was a place of the most heinous atrocities committed against innocent children, against all that is good and just, and against God Himself. Baal is mentioned 94 times in the Bible as a destructive force against the people of God, the lord of the flies, the god of dung, a symbol of Satan himself.

Arch of Baal - Image credit: Getty


There is a stark resemblance between the arches of Baal and the McDonald's golden arches, there is no denying this fact.


The original McDonald's design featured two separate arches on either side of the building, which were later combined to form the iconic "M" logo. As I typed this article in June 2024 the "M" logo is now "W."

2024 McDonalds signage

What is the deal with "WcDonald's"? Your guess is as good as mine. Apparently the switch is part of its latest campaign. McDonald’s has temporarily swapped its famous golden arches for a “W” paying homage to anime. The company debuted the new image worldwide on February 26, and also included limited-edition packaging, a new sauce, and a series of WcDonald’s anime shorts and manga. 


Thoughts? Please share below in the comments.


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