22 August 2013

Exploring the Darkness

Note: This is a draft of a post I wrote sometime last year and then entirely forgot about. I expect I intended to expand it, though of course I no longer remember what (if anything) I had in mind. It's not exactly along the lines I'm exploring these days (being more interested in Wiccan tradition), but I think it's still worth publishing (and of course the Wiccan God and Goddess have a dark side, too).

Recently I went for a stroll outside, musing about spiritual matters once again, and, as usual, not really making heads or tails of the workings of the universe. No, that's not the best way to put it. The universe is simple, it's myself, and how I should handle that universe that's the problem. But I digress. As I was drawing closer to home again, the wind picked up a little, the skies grew a little darker, and raindrops started falling. It was just a shower, no big storm. But, most important, it was not a warm, calm summer's day. And I felt invigorated. And I thought: 'There is real power in storms, gloom and darkness.'

Yes, the Dark Side is powerful. But what exactly is this Darkness? And I'm obviously not speaking merely of an absence of light here, but of an entity steeped in symbolism and important to the human psyche. It is a thing that seems to escape clear definition, and hard to put into words.

There is the literal darkness and gloom of the physical world. There's the night, and storms, which bring darkness with them even in daytime. But there is also the aesthetic darkness, the heart of many of the best stories. Every hero needs monsters, after all. The two are obviously connected, and have been since primordial times.

This double nature of the Darkness is perhaps one thing that makes it hard to get to grips with. It is a force of nature, a thing of the physical world, but it would be much less important and interesting if it was not so populated by creatures and secrets by the human mind.

The Darkness has many avatars in myth and in fiction. While many of them are monsters and demons, they include benevolent creatures as well. Beings like Nyx and Erebus represent literal darkness, while the likes of Typhon can be seen to reflect the violent side of nature. Others, like many demonic creatures, reflect the secrets of the human subconscious. But none of them alone represents the Darkness as a whole. It is a thing far greater than any one mythology.

One question that arises, from an occultist's viewpoint, is whether it is best and most efficient to approach the Darkness through these avatars, or whether one could tap into this primordial power directly? The Darkness itself is a living entity, after all. Not personified, but ever present, haunting us, showing us the awesome power and energy inherent in nature.

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