…You get a lot of people’s cats, on Flickr. Why?
The Reclamation of the Demonic is the other side of restoration of the divine. It’s the part we don’t talk about. I think primarily because the Western tradition is essentially modernist: the idea that you clean out the cobwebs in your attic, and then somehow spiders no longer exist.
Religion and health and history are told in stories. The Quest isn’t a metaphor for therapy, therapy’s a metaphor for the Quest.
Christianity is the perfect corporation, smoothing its rough edges off to get more consumers, and we’ve lost those parts of the story that are hardest to swallow. You have to add them in yourself, or hope for really good sermons. But not too good, or nobody’s coming back next Sunday. As usual, you have to do the heavy lifting yourself.
Buffy is primarily prescriptive: realize what you’ve been ignoring, culturally and personally, and the power that it holds over you. The show repeats this over and over (“Fear, Itself”) but in the final season it becomes the entirety of the message. By the end, it’s all that matters: are you alone with your darkness, or can you figure a way where everybody wins?
You build a little house called Me, and everything outside that house is wolves and spiders and clowns. A meditative experience of the divine teaches you that this house is infinitely big — many mansions — but then where do all the wolves and spiders and clowns go? The only things that can hurt you are the things outside your house, but there’s nothing outside your house.
Everything you’ve ever done that makes you feel ashamed. Mean to a little girl who loved you, in the third grade, because she was poor and a little stupid and always seemed dirty in some way nobody could define; she smelled like pee. Told your Mom to shut up on the day you knew she’d break down crying. The time you found the baby beside the couch, and not on it like a second ago. Threw a puppy against the wall to see what would happen.
It’s contained in there. That’s where God is found: in the places you don’t want to look. In the parts of your house that you can’t handle; in the parts where you’ve decided to keep your house smaller than it could be.
Recurrent images of the chthonic in Doctor Who’s third season + a little Sufjan Stevens + my smoke break = Thoughts. Who‘s version of this therapeutic story is primarily proscriptive: the demonic is subdued, again and again, until the end. Any story — and I’m talking specifically about TV here because I think about TV because it is my job — starts with the elimination of symptoms: vampires, spider people, whatever. They’re marked by their connection with the supernatural and often with their lack of identifying characteristics. Most vampires, and all zombies, are nameless. This is a clue to their function: they’re the symptom, not the illness.
Therapeutically, you have to go after the symptoms first, or you’ll end up in crisis. Or dead. If you don’t know how to use a stake, you’re gonna be fucked when the vampires come.But everybody, every show I should say, nears a point where that’s not enough. The Cylons start getting personalities, they stop being numbers: you start being able to identify the roots behind the symptoms. To say, “This is not in my house. All the bad things that have happened, all the bad things that are coming: they arise from this thing outside my house, they are its harbingers and its beasts.” And you’ve identified your enemy. So what then?
Farscape is primarily descriptive: it tells you what then. You eat the monster, you love the monster, you understand the monster. The primary relationship on the show, the ego/animus and the superego/anima, cannot run clear until such time as both parts have reclaimed the demonic power controlling them. You can’t have a healthy relationship until you recognize and accept your potential for abuse and the ways you’ve expressed it before. Psychic pain and repression aren’t modernist at all. It’s a game, an art, not science.
First you have to give up the concept that you can be clean, that you can be fixed, that you can be illuminated and perfect. All of those things, you already are. Those are the right answers to the wrong questions.
Not “How can I be clean,” but “How do I get home?” How do I live in this house I’ve built? By looking into every corner.
I think this is why people get creepy. I think Anton LeVey and the Satanists and John Wayne Gacy fans and Marilyn Manson are doing it wrong, but at least they’re doing it.The main thing is, I think I got tired of the passive enlightenment you get from carpeing diems and having learning experiences and living in various Alanis Morrissette songs. “I had to have this horrible thing happen to me in order to show me what is really important.”
It’s starting to look to me like the easy way out: waiting for life to come along and hit you, like a truck, and leave you stranded somewhere until you learn a thing or two and rebuild. It all just seems so lazy. I have been shocked, in my time, by how regularly events conspire to fuck me up, drive me crazy, take away stuff I thought mattered. A) That’s not necessary, and B) I do have this feeling that I was engineering that too. So why wait for your unconscious to fuck you up? Why wait for the vampires to come, when you can go patrolling?
I don’t think I’m done thinking about this, but I guess that’s the point.