My ongoing infatuation with Ronnie James Dio is no secret.
His golden roar and dedication to creative, expressive music for half-a-century has permeated my career mindset and my creative output, for instance my upcoming album Holy Flute. I keep uncovering new treasures and revisiting old ones with renewed appreciation. Shame on the Night: Discovering the Inner Light of the Music of Ronnie James Dio is the working title for my eventual book project delving into the spiritual revelations he embedded within the visionary hard rock and heavy metal realms that he ruled over for decades. He was even resurrected this past year as a life-sized hologram at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany.
The 3-pronged approach here is hardcore dedication, and levity mixed with authentic “nonduality.” Ronnie seems to have truly understood–in the deeper sense of “under” as in below ground, chthonic, underworld, Hades, Hell, etc.–that being dedicated does not also mean being deadly serious, and that real sanity requires a type of fluidity between opposite polarities, like Heaven and Hell, not a fanatical devotion to your side of a “one-sided coin,” which ultimately cannot exist.
And, he found the dark more fun, partly perhaps because he had almost been blinded by the light. I never got to meet him, and never got to ask him about it, but his lyrics over the years reveal startling truths, if you listen as a keen-eyed lion. He was a rainbow in the dark, this famous song of his is a self-description, not a metaphor. On a soul level, I believe this was literal. And he explored the dark because we wanted him to, and it was good fun for all of us. It still is. Just don’t get lost. When in doubt, hide in the rainbow.