Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Perspective On Darkness

I just loathe the way darkness is portrayed in popular culture and the media. Everywhere you look it relates to how to get out of it, how to avoid it, how terrible it is, or it is simply relegated to the musical genres of death, thrash, black and doom metal or to films and books of the horror genre. To be honest though, I'm not sure what I'm trying to do with it. It's just that something tells me this world needs to realign its thinking of it before we neurotically self-destruct through capitalist-induced consumerism, self-induced ambivalence, religiously-induced righteousness, or massively overdose on a collectively-induced ingestion of fluffy goodness.

After seeing the documentary Until The Light Takes Us I got a new perspective on how I think about it. One of the interviews in that documentary was done with former black metal artist Varg Vikernes of Burzum (he now denounces any affiliation with the genre of black metal although he continues to write music using the name Burzum).

He spoke to the film-maker from a prison in Norway where, at the time, he was serving a 21 sentence for murdering a fellow musician and former friend Øystein Aarseth, of Norwegian Black Metal band Mayhem, back in 1993. The Norwegian black metal movement of the late eighties and early nineties created a lot of mayhem (haha yes a pun) and resulted in multiple church burnings, murder and suicide. The music was dark and expressed in such a way as to scream for the destruction they craved. He claims never to have been into violence for the sake of violence. He describes the general ambience of violence in terms of needing to destroy something before something new can replace it.

His words gave me hope because I've never been a fan of violence or black metal in general and I've never subscribed to death and darkness for the sake of destruction or evil and I'm relieved to hear that somebody out there has the same idea of it as I have always had. I only wish I liked black metal music more than I do. It would be sympathetic to my thinking.

However, in the major arcana of the tarot there is a great example of how darkness and violence can be beneficial. Card 16 The Tower, is a tower built of our illusions and when lightning strikes this tower it falls to the ground and our perception, our foundation of beliefs fall along with it. It can be terribly tragic and destructive when it happens to us personally, but at the same time a new way is paved to realign our thinking in a less precarious way.

Kind of smacks of September 11, 2001 doesn't it? But this is not darkness. This is a lack of darkness being manifest as religiously-induced righteousness. The real darkness would be the stuff of understanding for the differences in human beings buried beneath the insanity of riotous behaviour by the Muslim extremists responsible for the attack.

I wish the world would stop trying to make things light and accept what is floating around in the darkness as part of who we are, listen to it, take responsibility for our own actions, and blame no one. It is what it is.

The tarot image above is from the Victoria Regina tarot published by Llewellyn Worldwide, now out of print.


Christopher Courtley said...

Konstantinos, in his book "Nocturnal Witchcraft", suggests a model in the form of an equal armed cross, in which the vertical bar represents the good/evil dichotomy and the horizontal the light/darkness. In theory, we all fall into one of the quadrants; there is good dark & evil dark, and there is good light & evil light. I like this model. Though it is somewhat simplistic, it is useful for explaining to others that 'dark' does not necessarily equal 'evil', nor does 'light' always equal 'good'.

Ms Corpse Cafe said...

I'll take a look at that book. Thank you.

Vincent said...

I'm with ya, sister. I agree that too much emphasis is placed on separating good from evil, light from dark, positive from negative, etc. I think it's vital for humanity to accept the fact that you can never hope to know the whole truth when you're constantly trying to rip it apart and reshape it.

On a personal level, I've found what gives me a lot of tolerance and patience for others is keeping in mind the concept that no one is all good or all evil, it's always a fucking mix.

Ms Corpse Cafe said...

Hahaha... yeah a fucking mix and I think there is too much God damned light mixed into the pudding... I'm going to balance that out with as much dark as possible!
Grrrr... blaspheme blaspheme blaspheme argh!