the dichotomy of evil

The Serpent Sigil

While serpents ordinarily rule over life/death/rebirth, fertility and the dichotomy of “good/evil” and light/dark, wishes need not be confined to these parameters – apply instead the concept of the kundalini,the force of desire. || for more information on my use of the serpent, see Feeding the Black Serpent ||

A Few Uses

  • The Wishing Serpent: To use, simply write your desire, beginning where the neck of the serpent meets the head. If you choose to recreate the sigil in favor of printing (when this sigil is used at its exact size, the “uncoiled” measures around 3 feet), ensure there is room to complete your desire. Cut along the lines, which should leave you with a long, serpent ribbon. This is best performed outside, though it may be done inside away from flammables over a large-mouth bowl. Using a candle placed on the ground (of a fitting color – red works as a default), allow the tail of the serpent to catch, holding the snake by its head, allow it to burn from the bottom to the top. If used inside, scatter the ashes to the wind, otherwise they have already been aptly scattered. 
  • The Healing Serpent: Utilizing much of the same procedure as above, write the name of he/she you wish to heal 7 or 9 times upon the face of the sigil – again, starting from the neck of the serpent. Cut along the lines. Coil the serpent back and flip it over, on the reverse, write 3, 7, or 9 times the name of nature of their ailment(s). Using a black, white or red candle, perform the same process as above – reading the prayer:

Coiled serpent, now – 
Unwound – Behest: 
My bidding, go about 
The soil,
Viper tongue splayed –
Oh, Black Serpent,
Recant the poisoned-
Tooth venom,
And devour that sickness
That you hath cast,
Recant – by witch’s will – 
And feed it to the forge.

  • The Witches’ Watch: Should an event arise that calls for a timed ritual, this serpent might serve as time-keeper –such as for opening the realms, crossroads work, evocations, invocations and possessions. Simply cut along the lines and drive a piece of cotton cord or thread through the head of the serpent and hang it in a safe place. When you are ready to begun your working, ignite the tail with your working candle – burn times vary based on paper used, circulation, temperature, etc. I recommend trying a test burn using the same paper and location, to get a general idea of your time frame. Play with the size of the sigil to shorten or lenthen your working time.
  • The Poison Serpent: On the face of the sigil, write out your unsavory desires, perhaps something to the extent of: “May the poison serpent rot the flesh and mind.” On the reverse, write your victim’s name nine times, beginning not at the neck, but at the tail. This pairs the elevation of your desire (over your victim) with the symbol of their force of will (to fight) being eaten away as the serpent is devour by the flame and freed into the aether. Collect the ashes and blend with sulphur powder, a poisonous plant of your choosing (ideally one that’s symptoms match the nature of your desire), iron oxide (optional) and bone dust (optional). 

There are countless uses! Please, by all means get creative with it! I’d love to hear what some of you guys [would] do with it!

a PSA

not to be critical of anyone else’s practice but like

as a Celtic-descended witch who has a pretty heavy background in Celtic mythology and pre-Christian cultural practices and beliefs in Great Britain

can y’all please stop encouraging people to work with fairies by looking for soft lights and flowers and tiny twinkling wings and leaving out buttercups of sugar water as offerings? like I get that Tinkerbell is a nice image and we all like to think of these tiny beautiful people who bring shimmering dust and play tricks sometimes, but the modern (particularly American) view of fairies is almost exactly the opposite of the original fae/fairy legends

and if you want to work with fairies that’s your business, and I’m not saying don’t, but traditionally fairies are not just playful or mischievous. We’re not even talking like, trickster god status. Like we are talking about seriously powerful beings who have their own intentions and little to no regard for human life that often becomes straight up disdain, and who absolutely will use your well-intentioned ignorance for their own purposes/entertainment

(side note: fairies don’t really ascribe to the good/evil dichotomy so there’s nothing inherently bad or scary about working with them but that’s an entirely different conversation)

like y’all realize that the blanket group that covers what would be considered “fairies” like brownies and piskies also covers banshees, right? (which also get a bad rap, but I digress)

just be careful and, like with any magic you’re practicing or entities you’re working with, do your research and don’t just trust tumblr posts to give you all the information you might need

Pirates of the Caribbean sentence meme!
Quotes from all four movies under the cut - 300 total! Send in a sentence or send in  for a random starter!

1. A wedding? I love weddings! Drinks all around!
2. Best start believing in ghost stories. You’re in one.
3. I feel nothing.
4. You’ve seen a ship with black sails that’s crewed by the damned, and captained by a man so evil that Hell itself spat him back out?
5. But I have seen a ship with black sails.
6. So this is where your heart truly lies, then?
7. I’m actually feeling rather good about this.
8. I thought I had you figured. Turns out you’re a hard man to predict.
9. A dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest.
10. Honestly, it’s the honest ones you have to watch out for.
11. So we’re all men of our word, really.
12. Well, you’ve proven they’re mad.
13. That’s not much incentive to fight fair then, is it?
14. In a fair fight, I’d kill you.
15. Put it away. It’s not worth getting beat again.
16. I want you to leave and never come back.
17. I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request. Means ‘no’.
18. Well, I suppose if it is worthless there’s no point in me keeping it.
19. The code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.
20. One good deed is not enough to save a man from a lifetime of wickedness.

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So I’ve seen a couple posts now about how the way to deal with an unethical food industry is by supporting local farmers, and… that idea is decent in theory, but seems to be avoiding a few key factors?

1. Remember all of those wildly popular posts about how individual action isn’t the way to solve an issue driven primarily by major corporations? Because… yeah.

2. How about that thread that talked about how “ethical small-town shop” vs “evil megacorporation” is a false dichotomy, because small-town employers are just as capable of unethical and skeezy practices - and more likely to make you fall for it because they’re the good guys?

3. Finally, do you have any idea how hard it can be to buy local when you’re poor and/or disabled? Until recently, the farmer’s market in my city was in a poorly-laid-out, wildly overcrowded building, once a week, closing in the midafternoon. Going meant disrupting sleep patterns and dealing with multiple layers of sensory hell. Navigating it in a wheelchair? Good fucking luck. They’ve fixed the sensory hell and physical accessibility problems now, and vastly improved the hours… but it’s still only open during the working day for most people, or painfully early on the weekends. Also, there’s… y’know, only the one, and it’s a fair distance from basically all of the major bus routes.

Factoring in the time and energy needed to get there, shop, and get your shit home when you’re poor is a non-trivial problem.

(None of this touches on prices, which, in my experience, vary wildly from “just below supermarket” or “supermarket-equivalent but higher quality” all the way up to “We’ll take an arm, a leg, and your firstborn.”)

tl;dr: If you want to support local business as a solution to unethical food concerns, you need to a) also advocate for legal and regulatory reform because this isn’t the whole picture, b) make sure local business is producing ethically, and c) make local business more accessible for people with time, financial, physical, or psychological constraints.

And if I catch any of you fucks shaming someone for buying groceries at the supermarket, I will come for your young.

Light, Dark, Balance

Unsure why some ascribe ‘villain’ to Kylo Ren so vehemently and permanently. I think it’s implicit that trilogy three is attempting a much more nuanced commentary on the perceived strictness of the dichotomy of good/evil. Light, dark, BALANCE. We’ve HAD the fully-fledged villain within Vader; next we saw the evolution of a villain within Anakin. Now, with Kylo Ren, I feel as though we’re about to see the deconstruction of one.

Look guys I love the Star Wars fandom, but some of y’all need to calm the hell down with the Kylo Ren discourse. I don’t like Kylo Ren/Reylo at all and I have not been shy about shitting on him, but holy hell the fandom is all torch and pitchforks about the whole situation. He’s obviously going to get a redemption arc because it’s Star Wars, which is all about hope and exploring the dichotomy of good and evil. Plus, as a friend pointed out to me, we haven’t really seen Kylo/Ben’s side of the story yet. You all need to let the story play out and calm tf down because it’s STAR WARS. A movie. A fictional movie. Even if the resolution turns out shitty you know deep down that they’re going to do it. If Return of the Jedi vindicated Vader, you KNOW the same thing is going to happen with Kylo Ren. Also the Reylo shitfest needs to end. Stop harassing the shippers because they want two people together. Do I like the ship? HELL NAH. But I’m not going to bombard strangers on the internet with screamer messages because they want two people who don’t exist to be together. Stop. Y’all are grown adults. It’s Star Wars. Chill out. 

One thing I think Steven Universe and OK KO: Let’s be heroes! have done tremendously well is inspire it’s viewers to actually get into drawing or other similar ways to express themselves artistically.

Think about how many “gemsonas” you’ve seen on Tumblr or DeviantArt since SU’s inception. Steven Universe’s race of gems is so nebulous and the amount of actual real-world gems and minerals is so vast that it provided a catalyst for fans to create their own unique gems based on what sorts of powers we’ve seen the characters use in the show. SU has been self-referential with this fact as well (Gus from Uncle Grandpa’s gemsona “Mr. Gusite”).

OK KO has similarly carried the torch with the show’s signature “pow cards”. The show’s character designs are so spectacularly varied and the clear dichotomy of “Good vs. Evil” gives fans a framework to base their character designs around. People making new personas with their own individual characteristics that they feel would fit in with the world the show presents.

It’s an extremely clever way the creators of these shows have helped spark a whole new wave of creativity among young artists to start drawing characters based on the shows they love. This in turn gives them more ideas that could expand into their own series ideas someday.

Bye-bye, little butterfly.

(This pic on Twitter) Also bonus samurai Chat in a different outfit because man I love Chat in tradition clothes:

Congrats to Papapillon and all the other hardworking people whose sweat, blood, and tears made Miraculous Ladybug a reality. 

You did it!! ˚✧₊⁎˓˓⁽̨̡ ˚͈́꒳​˚͈̀*⁾̧̢˒˒⁎⁺˳✧༚ 

Originally posted by ibmblr

Tears of gratitude and friendship below the cut:

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On why Dany should be an antagonist ( ≠ villainy villain )

Season 7 is right around the corner and I have some thoughts, opinions, speculations and theories I have to get off my chest. I will try to keep any book-specific analysis out of this discussion. This is (as much as possible) show only.

Something that always struck me as odd was the existing controversy sorrounding Daenerys’s character in the fandom. With all other characters, the audience can generally agree on where they fall on the “morality-spectrum”, so to say. Jon Snow is an unproblematic fave, if there ever was one, Joffrey and Ramsay are among the most evil characters to ever grace our TV screens, the Hound made a text-book antagonist-to-protagonist transformation (even receiving in-show absolution via Arya taking him of her kill-list) and show!Stannis - before the daughter-burning incident - was clearly planted in the middle. People liked him and even rooted for him, but no one’s arguing that he was involved in some very dubious, evil, amoral shit. Show!Cersei was ripped of most of her book-counterparts cruelty, but the fandom generally agrees that she is one of the clear antagonists / villains of the series. 

The point is that the audience - minus some radical stans or antis - can generelly agree on where characters are on the good-evil, protagonist-anatgonist chart at any specific time of the story or during a particular arc. If not on the exact point, at least on the general vicinity. 

But Daenerys? Her placement jumps all over from divine saviour to unreedimingly mad queen depending on who you ask, unlike any other character on the show. 

In the end what’s really important isn’t to wether a character’s behaviour is 100%, 75% or 50% evil/good but wether we - the audience - root for them (protagonist), root against them (antagonist) or aren’t really sure about it.  

If there are any clear protagonists, or hereos if you will, in GOT and ASOIAF it is the Starks. There is nothing they could do that would actually turn the audience against them. I know I promised to keep any book stuff out of this, but there is a reason A Promise of Spring’s original title was A Time for Wolves. The Starks are the heart of the story.

A little sidenote on starkbowl and Sansa becoming an antagonist (which I really can’t see happening): Sansa turning into a villain also comes at the cost of her being a Stark, just like Tyrion tuning into a good guy severed him from the Lannisters. When talking about “the Lannisters” you mean Cersei, Jaime and Tywin. Tyrion and his family have become two separate entities in the collective mind of the fans and show watchers. If Sansa really were to team up with Littlefinger and turn into an antagonist/villain she wouldn’t be ‘a Stark’ anymore. Even now, with her clearly being a protagonist of the series, anti’s will always fall back on the ‘she isn’t a real stark anyway’ rethoric.
A Stark simply cannot be evil. (grr martin and D&D might let me fall straight on my face with this prediction, but I’d say that its veeerrrrryyyyy unlikely.)

But Daenerys?
There is no other character in GoT who’s ultimate and inherent good-ness or evil-ness is so bitterly fought about. While misogyny definitley plays into it, I think it would be false to see it as the sole or main source or reason. Her character is set up to be ambigious. I disagree with those who accuse her of being a ruthless tyrannt, willing to do anything to achieve her goals and those who see her as a benevolent messiah who can’t do anything wrong. She is - at the same time - both of those things and neither. 

To the general audience she is very much set up as a protagonist. It’s easy to root for her when she overcomes her abusive brother, fights for agency in a partriarchal world, destroys slavery or is on a subjectively honourable quest to restore her families legacy and reclaim her home.   

But what happens when her goals and desires clash with those of our other protagonists? If the Starks are our heroes and her enemies/rivals, what does that make Dany to us, the audience? 

But why can’t she just team up with the Starks and be a good guy ???

Two reasons: Drama and avoiding a clear good vs evil dichotomy. 
Going into season 7, our main-ish characters are set up as follows: 

The Protagonists / Camp “Good Guys”
Team Stark (Jon, Sansa, Arya, Bran, et al), Team Targaryen (Dany, Tyrion, Theon et al) 

The Antagonists / Camp “Bad Guys”
The White Walkers, Team Lannister (Cersei, Jaime et al) & Euron, Littlefinger

Has Game of Thrones really introduced us to some of the most sympathatic villains, problematic heroes and placed almost every character somewhere in-between only to have it end with various constellations of Camp “Good Guys” batteling differing fractions of Camp “Bad Guys”? No, I don’t think so. (Unless D&D stray faaaaar from grr martins original plans and intentions, which could happen, sure….)
In order to prevent merely explicit good vs evil fights one or more characters/parties have to move towards the opposing camp. In my opinion, the most likely candidates for that are The White Walkers turning more good-ish -or less less bad-ish, if you prefer - and/or Dany expiriencing a similar shift in the opposite direction. 

The show already laid the groundwork for the first option by revealing that the White Walkers originally were first men, who were turned into ice monsters by the children of the forest.
[ The Youtube-Channel “A Theory of Ice and Fire” has some really good videos on the Origin of the White Walkers and the True Colors of the Children of the Forest. I recommend everyone to watch them and his other videos. His analysis and theories are very insightful and definitly worth a watch.]
But humanizing the White Walkers can only go so far. It will be really hard, if not impossible, to make us actually feel any kind of remorse over their demise. They are such big threat to all of humankind, that any moral ambiguity about destroying them is lost and any question wether our heroes should oppose them becomes obsolete. Comparisons that come to mind are eradicting a virus or putting down a rabid dog. The dog isn’t responsible for the state it is in, but ultimalty it is for the best.

I will go into Daenerys transformation from pro- to antagonist at the end of the post.  

To make for some interesting drama we also need tension and conflict between characters that are on the same side. Finding possible sources for this within Camp “Bad Guys” is pretty easy. Jaime is probably going to turn on his sister at some point and every alliance with Euron is going to be fragile at best and will turn into chaos for one or both parties at worst. 

What about Drama within Camp “Good Guys” and it’s individual fractions?

Jons parentage is going to cause some tension within Team Stark, yes, but I don’t see any of the remaining stark children ‘throwing him out Winterfell’ because of it. I don’t see Jon discarding his identitiy as a Stark neither, especially after Arya and Bran come back into the picture. His relationship with sansa is so controversial that I don’t want to touch on it, but he isn’t going to go full Targaryen with his little sister and brother around. Can we at least agree on that? They will insist that he still is one of them and so will he. (I stand by my opinion that R+L=J and more importantly Jons reaction to it will cause a rift between him and Dany, not him and the starks).

The Dothraki and their way-of-life are probably going to cause some conflict within Team Targaryen. Dany isn’t as ruthless as some parts of the fandom make her out to be and she will be conflicted about bringing so much destruction to “her lands and people”. She might try to silence her conscience, because the ends justify the means, but she and her allies will have to face some really difficult choices. Tyrion might feel just a bit bad about attacking his home as well. 

It’s as good as impossible to predict or speculate on Bran’s or Arya’s story line, since they are kept top-secret, but I don’t think they involve one of them turning bad.

Sure, Sansa and Littlefinger could team up and cause some drama in camp ‘Good Guys’, but they simply don’t have enough influence to put the stakes sufficiently high. Seriously, against a Jon&Dany tag-team, what could they - or anyone really - do to oppose them? What use is an antagonist if he doesn’t pose a vital threat to our protagonists?   

Daenerys turning into an antagonist ( ≠ ultimate evil villain) simply makes the most sense from a storytelling-perspective. Both to cause tension between our  protagonists, shake up Camp “Good Guys”, color our final conflicts in a nice shade of grey and lead us toward a bittersweet ending. Why is Dany the best character to “break bad”?
She is the most powerful human character right now. (With the threat of the White Walkers looming over everything, any secondary antagonist/”villain” will have to bring a lot to the table to form a interesting, engaging plotline. I think it’s safe to say that Dany’s help against the army of the dead will be crucial. Keeping her allegiance unstable or it coming at a great cost would be substantial enough to stand on it’s own, while still being connected to the bigger arc surrounding it.)  
She is allied with some shady characters (As stated above, the Dothraki aren’t going to magically turn into peaceful people. Bringing an army whose entire culture revolves around raiding and raping and pillaging could be seen as a questionable move. Also, I do not think that her alliance with the Greyjoys is a coincidence. Yes, we all need to put our differences aside to face the White Walkers, but the Iron Born have caused so much havoc in the north, so recently, that their presence NOT causing any issue for a Dany-North alliance is hard to imagine. Specifically putting established enemies of the North - including Theon with his very complicated relationship to House Stark - on Danys side has to have some significance. As for the rest: I honestly believe that Olenna is going to kick the bucket very soon, she’s only still around because she’s so good at sassing people. I refuse to waste any more thoughts than necessary on the Sandsnakes, but murdering your family in cold blood isn’t exactly nice? Tyrion might be the only person on Team Dragon that has any kind of positive connection to the Starks. show!Tyrion, at least, does have a rather agreeable relationship with both Jon and Sansa.)
Her political goals stand in direct conflict with those of the Starks (The Seven Kingdoms vs Northern Independece - and yes northern independence is actually important to numerous characters on the show)
Jon’s parentage will cause some tension between them (some people believe that she’ll see him as a potential rival to the Iron Throne. I disagree. I believe the reason for Dany ‘turning against’ Jon won’t be him being a Targaryen, but him not wanting to be one. I am pretty sure that Jon’s initial reaction to R+L=J will be to utterly reject his Targaryen heritage, to get through this majore identity crises. And Dany will, understandebly, feel utterly betrayed by that. She won’t see him as a threat, she will try to persuade him to become ‘the man he was always meant to be’, she will want him to be a Targaryen and she will want him by her side -wether in a romantic way or not- when she takes the Seven Kingdom. And this is something that Jon will not give her. He will choose to be a Stark and that will be a hard blow for Dany. Her beloved brothers, Rhaegars son calling the “usurpers dog” his father. I don’t know who much this will influence the overall plot but it will definitely strain the relationship between Jon and Dany.)
The North, Vale and - presumably- Riverlands allience (Having the same regions rally behind Jon/House Stark “against” a Targaryen queen smells of Rebellion 2.0 ~with a twist~ this time opposing a conquerer, not the established ruler. I admit that this leaves out the Stormlands but with Gendry coming back, who knows? He has a friendly - possibly romantic, *wink* *wink* -relationship with Arya and if he’s put in any position to make such a decision he will ally with her side.)
She has shown the compasity for cruelty & violence (You can argue wether or not her opponents had it coming - yes for Kraznys mo naklos , no for the randomly crucified & burned masters of meereen, mayybe for the khals; but the fact that she’s willing to use such questionable, violant measures while having giant fire-breathing dragond at her disposal opens her up for a very dark path. Someone with nothing but swords going a bit too far wouldn’t have the same consequences as the mother of dragons stepping over the line. Speaking of dragons)
Her dragons are a ticking time bomb, she can’t properly control (At one hand they will play a crucial part in defeating the army of the dead, but on the other hand they are fucking dangerous and Danys ~varying~ inability to control them is a well established plot point. Reducing their final role to being magicals weapons bringing down the big evil would be so chliche and go against many of the problematic themes concerning them. Btw when has one person having so much power ever ended well?)
There will be no Iron Throne or Targaryen Restoration (I don’t believe that ASOIAF or GOT is about Dany restoring the Seven Kingdoms to it’s “ideal” previous state of absolute Targaryen rule. Not only would this render Roberts Rebellion meaningless, it would portray it as a mere temporal disruption of the rightful order which is just… no. The rebellion was a justified uprising against a tyrannical king, it’s the event that started the story and it should still have significance at the end of it. Sorry, not sorry, but Dany isn’t simply going to press the ‘reset button’ on Westeros. The Iron Throne is doomed, so is House Targaryen and so is Daenerys - unless she peacefully settles down as Lady of Dragonstone, which is … rather unlikely.)
The controversy about her character is exactly what grr martin wants (This whole long-ass post started with the extraordinary discrepancy concerning Danys position on the evil-good spectrum. People can’t seem to be on the same page when it comes to her. And you know what? That’s the point. No ones objectively ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Characters are on opposing sides for their own reasons, not because they are inherently evil or good. Everyone can either agree or disagree with those reasons and form an opinion accordingly. Having the audience “choose sides” between two fractions we both rooted for when separeted, once their stories collide would be an appropriate ending for the story. 

I propose the theory that this contradiction (rooting for the Starks and Dany) and Danys role reversel when switching from her own separate to the shared storyline (from protagonist to antagonist) is already in full effect within the more obsessed part of the fandom (who loves to speculate and “think ahead”) and will hit the the casual viewer in season 7.  

Last, but not least having all of our protagonists team up after meeting for the first time and descending on the evil dudes with immense force just feels so … boring, predictable,anticlimactic, lord-of-the-ring-sy? Everyone coming together and defeating the White Walkers after having some serious beef with each other (sometime mid to end seaon 8) would be way more dramatically satisfying. I think that Daenerys will take a clear antagonistic role against the starks until the very end when she comes around to save the day. 

Since I know someone is going to bring it up: I am not saying that any of this would be an impregnable obstacle for any romantic relationship with Jon. It would complicate things, yes, but also make them a lot more interesting. Neither am I saying that Dany will turn bat-shit crazy and burn down all of Westeros just because.

In the end, these are only my thoughts and opinions. Maybe I’m wrong about all this and the show will move into a completely different direction. We won’t truly know until the last episode, will we? 

Thanks for sticking with me until the end, you’re a champ, and tell me what you think. 

My sister and I were talking in the car about why Death Note works and why the American one does not and after discussing the themes and such we came to a realization that the dichotomy of good and evil in Death Note and the way the story progresses is wildly similar to what we have been learning in theatre history about Greek theatre. In Ancient Greece, theatre was a debate of topics, just like Death Note is a constant debate on whether it not the killing of criminals is bad. You didn’t have a play without a debate on whether or not an action was good or bad, logical or illogical etc.in Ancient Greek theatre.

Also your protagonist always suffers some form of flaw and has to either grow from it or die because of the wrong choices made so the audience knows it was a wrong choice. Death Note follows follows Light who is considered our protagonist but like protagonists in ancient Greek plays, he is filled with pride and we see through the entire series that what starts off as a justified plausible reason for his actions (and is not violent) completely derails the more prideful he gets until eventually he is killed brutally by the one who can be considered the most “untainted”. This is exactly like reading an ancient Greek play. The protagonist is seriously flawed and will not listen to reason until the end of the tragedy when the body count is high and the lesson is only learned by the audience. Protagonists in Ancient Greek Theatre tended to die (these were mainly tragedies after all) and almost everyone in a Greek play dies by the end. The same is said for Death Note.

And the antagonist we initially follow? L who is very much like an Ancient Greek antagonist because he is a voice of reason but because he goes against the one whom we follow, we are meant to expect his eventual death (like Antigone).

One reason why Death Note works is because we can see our protagonist steadily falling victim to his own pride and in the end when things go to shit we as the audience (and the chorus) understand fully that this is how bit was meant to be and even expect it.

Just some food for thought.

The Aghori monks of India and Nepal spend their lives proving to Shiva, the god of death and transformation, that they are his true disciples by living at Hindu cremation grounds, bathing in the ashes of human remains, inflicting torture upon themselves to prove their immunity from pain. (…) The initiates of the Aghori eat and drink solely from a human skull plucked from the remains left at their home. They eat rotting food and garbage, drink animal piss, all to show the complete acceptance of all that is considered terrible in this world, to blur the lines between good and evil, pure and impure. These dichotomies do not exist to the Aghori; they know that without one another, neither would exist, and they embrace their place in society as feared and disgusting to the average person. 

Documentary about Aghori 

you can see a similar thing happening re: Asian American politics and the obsessive focus on media representation

almost all of it is concerned with

a) franchises that are well-loved in the West

b) East Asians

And it’s quite obvious that people are trying to compensate for the “guilt” of consuming things like anime and aesthetic posts, consuming the “essence” of east asians without showing regard for the people themselves.

so they talk a lot about actors’ pay, and the feelings of a hypothetical Asian (or vague PoC) audience. They set up a clean good/evil dichotomy around this one trivial issue (how many A list actors do you know?) and duke it out to reassure themselves that this moral structure will work just fine. It’s like jumping on a trampoline and thinking you can actually jump like 10 feet into the air on your own.

case in point: there was an adaptation of “Journey to the West” that was announced at around the same time as GiTS.

none of the cast members in the Journey to the West show were East Asian, let alone Chinese, even though “Journey to the West” is considered one of the 4 cornerstones of Chinese literature and is one of the most widely known stories throughout East Asia.

there’s definitely something to be said about the replacement of EAsians with SE Asians, specifically, and how many people justified this as progressive casting in the vein of Hamilton’s replacement of white figures with Black and Latino performers. it fits into the trend of trying to replicate the larger white-black scale within the Asian community (both by Asians and non-Asians) in order to “make sense” of entities that as a whole don’t fit into the white-black scale.

but in this case the more prominent issue is how performative allies totally failed to fulfill their own standards. according to mainstream CA theory, wouldn’t the “corruption” of such a culturally significant story be utterly despicable? wouldn’t it hurt the hypothetical ABC children who are starving for scraps of their heritage? shouldn’t there have been scores and scores of angry tweets and a non-apology from Netflix that led to a new hashtag?

In any case, the whole thing blew away and people are still constantly mad about anime

So, I took a sabbatical and played sonic adventure 2 through again for the first time since becoming attuned to the floews of majjyck, and it turns out that this game is a kabbalistic ascension metaphor and sega might be powerful reality wizards…

but hear me out.

The game makes heavy use of Tarot symbolism, specifically in the destruction of The Moon (representing illusions), and that the last image we see at the end of the game is Shadow, the ultimate lifeform, imposed over The World (representing perfect unity)

The story revolves around the collecting of 7 chaos emeralds, which have a 7 faceted cut.. These seven alchemical stones that turn our heros to gold. the seven tiers of the tree of life leading up to godhood. Even within the story itself, they clearly are metaphysical objects. Characters pull them out of thin air, the master emerald changes sizes, and is always in knuckles’ possession, but not always seen.

And consider–the prayer knuckles recites to turn the tide of the battle:

“The servers are, the seven Chaos. Chaos is power; power is enriched by the heart. The controller is the one that unifies the Chaos. Only you can do this; stop the Chaos Emeralds!”

It’s also worth noting how this relates to Sega, that is to say “SErvice GAmes”, Sega itself are the creators of the games which act as the service, read: mass/group ritual

Chaos is power. The controller is the one that unifies the Chaos. It’s literally chaos magic.

I think that the fact that sonic can use chaos control without a chaos emerald is worth of note. Especially with Shadow telling Sonic that he might actually be the ultimate life form. This implies so much about Sonic as a character in this game’s universe. And just as much, the choice to call one side “Dark” rather than “evil” frames the vying between these two factions in a more nuanced way, especially in that it’s a story where you have to see both sides to understand. And only when you understand boths sides of the story can they converge.

This brings to mind the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, which begins unified at Malkuth, the “Kingdom” (keeping in mind how Sonic begins by promising us he will lead us out of the city/kingdom), but then splits into two branches which cross paths at points before finally reuniting at the top where exists divine wisdom. The Tree’s split paths each are made up of 3 sephirot, which aligns with each side consisting of 3 playable characters. On the left side we have “Understanding”, “Severity”, and “Splendor” and on the right side we have “Wisdom”, “Kindness”, and “Eternity”.

The dichotomy of good/dark, instead of good/evil, brings to mind the notion of the left-handed and right-handed paths of magick and how it helps us to transpose the symbolism of the tree onto the cast of SA2. The Dark, left-hand path: Rouge the bat, who is obsessed with the splendor of gems, which in this universe are directly related to mystic enlightenment, Rogue represents the dogged pursuit of esoteric mysteries driven by their splendor, “Our unconscious desires come from [Eternity] (Knuckles’ Sephirot, which sees gems as metaphysical rather than material) , and are given form in the symbolic realm by [Splendor]”. Dr. Eggman is Severity, whose methods are at all times turned up to 11. He uses the power of knowledge to wield the power of the ARK in order to hold the world in his hands, “[Severity] is ‘the essence of judgment (DIN) and limitation, and corresponds to awe and the element of fire“. Shadow is represented by Understanding, which is the end goal of Shadow’s role, his mind is pure, but he is torn between the will of his creator and the promise he made to Maria, and his enlightenment comes when he grows to understand the world he was asked to protect.

Meanwhile, on the right-hand path we have Knuckles, represented by Eternity which, “communicates the idea of long-suffering, strength, endurance unto completion or patience.” reflecting Knuckles’ role as lone guardian of the Master Emerald. Tails represents Kindness, which needs little explanation. Finally Sonic represents Wisdom, the counterpart of Shadow’s Understanding, seemingly alike, but fundamentally both different yet reflections of one another.

In Escape from the City-the first song of the game from the hero story- the song is sung from sonic’s perspective. Even in the first verse, “Got places to go, gotta follow my rainbow!” 7 colors to a rainbow, heavy symbology of peace. There is even a literal ARC involved. “Trusting in what you can’t see, take my lead; I’ll set you free.” – “find the next stage no matter what that may be” – “trust me and we will escape from the city” – “Take my lead, I’ll set you free.” This makes no sense in relation to the story. Sonic is never helping anyone escape from the city… if you merely look at the plot!

Clearly the meaning lies elsewhere. Sonic is a godhead.  the penultimate step before the divine, still split in twain, guiding the player to enlightenment. 6 points on his literal head, even. The city he is leading us out of is not the one we see in the game, but the city of the mundane plane.

Live and Learn goes further. As the endcap of the series, the lyrics tie this all together.

“Can you feel life, movin’ through your mind?

Ooh, looks like it came back for more!

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Can you feel time, slippin’ down your spine?

Oooh, you try and try to ignore!”

It starts, describing the pain of the human experience in. Talks about time slipping down your spine, the reverse from the flow up the spine to the divine, but rather back down into the mundane. It’s the creation of the universe, flowing from the top of the tree down.

“But you can hardly swallow

Your fears and pain!

When you can’t help but follow

It puts you right back where you came!”

This condition is unescapable without breaking away from following the past. It even says “when you can’t help”, really highlighting the coercive, entrapping nature of the mundane.

“Live and learn!//Hanging on the edge of tomorrow

Live and learn!//From the works of yesterday-ay

Live and learn!//If you beg or if you borrow

Live and learn!//You may never find your way”

The chorus reminds our tenuous grasp on the future, the ideal tomorrow. Our origins from the established real, and states that finding our way to the tomorrow, away from fears and pain, is impossible when we rely on just what we’re given on face value. Telling us to live and learn, to become the process of changing towards that ideal.

“Can you feel life, tangle you up inside?

Yeah! Now you’re face down on the floor!

But you can’t save your sorrow

You’ve paid in trade!

When you can’t help but follow

It puts you right back where you came!”

The second verse tells us that our pain in the mundane is because there is something we trade away, that because of this trade, we cannot be rid of it. What we get from the mundane world will never be enough to become untangled, un-split.

“There’s a face searching far, so far and wide

There’s a place where you dream you’d never find

Hold on to what if?

Hold on to what if?”

The final verse tells us to hold on to what if, to grasp dearly to our greatest desire to be free from a world of pain and second bests. It tells us that there is somewhere out there so fantastical that we cannot even imagine it as we are now. All of this in the background as our godhead(s) have transcended their previous forms, transformed to gold by the alchemist’s stone. The two twisting halves of the story twine together, like the tree of life.

Episode Review: ‘Whispers‘ (S09E13)
  • Airdate: July 20, 2017
  • Story by: Ashly Burch, Adam Muto, Kent Osborne, Jack Pendarvis, Julia Pott
  • Storyboarded by: Sam Alden & Polly Guo
  • Directed by: Cole Sanchez (supervising), Sandra Lee (art)

Thanks to Cartoon Network’s needless meddling, we are officially in the middle of season 9. However, when “Whispers” was being boarded it was planned to be the penultimate episode of season 8. With this in mind, a viewer can sense that the series is ramping up towards something big in the following episode, “Three Buckets”.

At the start of this episode, Finn and Fern are fishing when the latter has a breakdown and bemoans the fact that he cannot seem to do anything right. Finn calms his grassy doppelganger down, but suddenly Sweet P burst on the scene, screaming and crying. Finn and Fern eventually manage to calm him down, and learn that he has been having recurring nightmares about the Lich, and the poor child claims that at night, he keeps seeming something in his room.

Night falls, and so Finn and Fern keep an eye on Sweet P. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, Sweet P’s fears are validating when Finn sees the severed hand of the Famrworld Lich (last seen in “Crossover”) attempting to summon the hibernating Ooo Lich from within Sweet P. For a moment, this nefarious plot works: Sweet P’s eyes glaze over and the power of the Lich takes over. However, the effect wears off, and Finn gives chase to the hand, which leads him to the ruins of the Lich’s lair, an abandoned subway station last seen in “Mortal Folly”. Finn is nearly bested, before Sweet P shows up, affirms that he is never going to be a bad person, and stabs the Lich-hand with Finn’s sword, presumably killing it.

In the final scene of the episode, Fern expresses his dissatisfaction at always coming in second to Finn… setting the stage for some dark developments in the following episode.

The Sweet P/Lich plot has always been one of my favorites, because it does great things with the good/evil dichotomy, and always manages to keep me on the edge of my seat. But it has been a while since the show touched on the Lich, and an even longer time since we’ve really seen Sweet P (excepting cameos and minor appearances, like in Elements). The show is slowing building to some sort of Lich endgame, that much seems clear, but the way that the endgame is being approached is so subtle that the terror keeps ramping up with each new entry that explores the arc.

Sweet P seems rather resilient to the Lich, which is a good sign: I have long feared that the Essence of Pure Evil will overcome him and possibly kill him, and that would be just horrifying. Perhaps Sweet P can manage to stand up what he believes is right. But this does not mean that Sweet P is out of the woods just yet. The Lich still seems to be able to control him at times, and while the Farmworld Lich hand was slayed in this episode, there are still an infinite(!) number of Lich hands out there in the multiverse. That seems problematic, to say the least.

Sam Alden wrote on his personal website that this was one of his favorite episodes to work on, and it’s not hard to see why. For one thing, much of the show’s lore is on display. We get further clarification about the Lich’s mission (more on that in a bit), as well as his powers (now that he is both a disembodied hand and trapped in the body of a baby). And we also continue the Finn/Fern plot (that really kicked off at the end of “Do No Harm” and is further explored in “Three Buckets”).

But the episode also manages to recall the glory of the season two episode “Mortal Folly” by having Finn once again travel to the Lich’s evil abode. And because Ghostshrimp’s lovely designs are once again on display, this entire episode exudes a sort of “season two energy”.

I would like to end with a bit of speculation. The Lich tells Finn in this episode that he is the “final scholar of GOLB”. For long-time fans of the show like myself, this is a big deal. GOLB was the demonic entity that nearly swallowed Finn in “Puhoy” and that also wiped Margles from existence (as revealed in “You Forgot Your Floaties”). Why is the Lich the last scholar? I’m not sure. Perhaps the Lich is heralding GOLB’s second return (which Magic Man seemed to foresee). Or perhaps the Lich has learned everything he knows from this most terrifying cosmic being. Either way, I predict that GOLB will play a (possibly major) role in the series’ denouement. We’ll see.

Mushroom War Evidence: The creek Fern and Finn are fishing from is surrounded by a bunch of skeletons and crumbling ruins. The swamp that Fern, Finn, and Sweet P meander into is full of refuse, and we even see debris and artifacts buried in the mud. We revisit the Lich’s lair, which was once a subway station.

Final Grade:

“Reasons why Lucifer is a victim” WARNINGS: this must be read in a philosophical way, not religious one. As I’m an atheist, I’m treating this as literature. I love Lucifer’s character as I love Hamlet or Faustus. So don’t call me Satanist or whatever =___= This is purely for intellectual delight. The dualistic battle between “good” and “evil” does not start with monotheistic religions. We can see that evil figures can be found in the Ancient Mesopotamian religion (Nergal), in the Egyptian mythology (Apophis, Set), in the Greco-Roman paganism (Chaos, Erebus, Tartarus, Discordia, Nemesis, Invidia), in the Norse mythology (Hel). The said dichotomy is very common in philosophy, religion, ethics and it was felt in the same way by different people worldwide. While they tried to explain, offer their point of view, or show evil/good in a religious way, everyone would destroy the evil and make the good shine. In a philosophical contest, evil was explained as absence of good, that was its opposite; but some philosopher would argue that both factors (good and evil) were essential to the universe’s unity (like the Taoist Yin, that can’t exist without the Yang and the Yang that can’t be without the Yin). The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus stated that a war comes from opposites, but that this duality is necessary for harmony. He called this “logos” or universal law of the Nature. Later, Spinoza would say that “By good, I understand that which we certainly know is useful to us. By evil, on the contrary I understand that which we certainly know hinders us from possessing anything that is good” But what’s “good”? What’s “evil”? From a non-theological point of view, good can be explained as everything we do that does not harm others or ourselves, helping other people or living beings in the ways we can, respecting others, promoting peace and justice; while evil is basically the opposite: harming others (physically or psychologically), disrespect, injustice, inequality, in short, doing something we know it’s bad. Of course, every person has in itself its own way to explain them, following their own ethics, but, in big lines, this is it. Religions included the good/evil discourse and made it its ethical base, but also changing their connotations. To guide people, they would say to believe in Gods/God and be good, because, only in that way, Heaven would have been reached for sure. As we know, religious power had always been strong, along with the imperial one; what I’m trying to say is that their only power was in the people who believed. If there were no believer, every religious system would have fallen, and so their privileges, and they couldn’t let it to happen. So, often, they would brutally kill or force into conversion or to leave the country who didn’t conform. How did the king make his people follow the rules? By laws. How did institutionalized religions make people follow them and so maintain their power? By a God’s laws. Funnly enough, in the past, State and Religion were so much linked (though often in hostility too) that the King, the Emperor or the Pharaoh was considered chosen by God itself, and so, like a God on Earth. It was a vantage both for the ruler and the religious power. Things got harder and stricter when the institutionalised religion forced conversion on the countries they conquered: just think about the pagans (though they were in their own land), the Saxons, Jews, Muslims, Hindus or the Native Americans. (By Catholics). Examples of forced conversions can be found in religions like Judaism, Hinduism, Islam and Atheism too (though this one is not a religion, of course). It would be too long (I would say, impossible) to talk about how every institutionalized religion had always tried to keep control and power from their birth till now, so I’m going to leave it and reach the main point of my discourse. You will understand why I had to talk about all this before going to the crucial subject. The title was “Reasons why Lucifer is a victim” So now let’s see who Lucifer is and how his figure is portrayed in different religions. “Lucifer” means “the morning star”, “the shining one” (from Latin Lux + Ferre) and we find him first in ancient mythologies (in one of these he attempted to take the Ba'al’s throne, but, since he couldn’t do it, he descended and ruled the underworld.) As the name itself suggests, Lucifer is not a dark, obscure entity; he is something that shines like a star. In ancient and modern connotations, light has always been seen as something positive, something good; while dark as something evil. So Lucifer’s name itself says that he is no evil. - Christianity: in this religion, Lucifer is an angel, I may say, God’s favourite, and becomes “Satan” only after his fall. Why did he rebel? On what? Can an angel rebel? Let’s go with order. After the Creation, God asked the angels to bow to Adam; Lucifer did not, as he was an angel and Adam a human being. For this, he was eternally punished. (Though God is said to be compassionate, merciful, etc) Now, we know that angels have been created with NO free will, unlike human beings; so how did Lucifer “decide” to defy God’s order? The only explanation is that God simply PLANNED it. After the Creation he needed a Hell too (as people have free will and so a possibility to sin) and someone to “inaugurate” it. God created Lucifer in that specific way. After all, God is Omniscient and so he knows the future too. Lucifer was only a valuable, needed piece in his plan. And a victim because of it. Plus, in the Bible (and the Quran too), God explicitly says to bow to him only; bowing to Adam would have been too much for Lucifer, who could only bow to God. When the war started, some angels (always with God previously knowing) fought side by side with their brother Lucifer, but in the end, they were defeated and thrown down from the Heaven. Lucifer, must have felt so betrayed and wronged. He was the way he was and reacted that way ONLY because God created him that way. Also if he didn’t know that. Anyway, he found his newly discover (free will) appealing. Imagine of being a so old angel with no autonomous thoughts and then, suddenly, being awake. Being yourself. Taking decisions. Once he discovered this, he OFFERED (not tempted, but offered), the possibility to decide to Eve. She wanted to grab it too. Who wouldn’t have? (I would have lol). Plus, notice the name of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. Ring something? Look at the name carefully. Basically God said it’s a sin to distinguish good from evil and so having a free will. ANYWAY God already knew it would have happened and he wanted it too. But Lucifer is displayed as the bad one and God as the victim and restorer of order and peace. - Islam: in Islam, Lucifer is called Iblīs (there is no consensus for the root the name: it can mean “devil” or “despair”) and is a Jinn (and so created from fire) elevated at an angel state by Allah. This version explains how he could have a free will, unlike the Christian one, as he wasn’t a true angel to begin with. His figure is already much darker than the Christian one. When Allah orders the angels to bow in front of Adam, Iblis says  "I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay" and refuses to do so, just like Lucifer. And just like him, he respects God so much, that he does not prostrate before anyone else, than his creator, even if ordered. Iblis then asks to have mercy till the Judgment Day, which Allah grants him. In the meanwhile he would offer people “another way”. A REAL free will. (Because, where is free will in “if you don’t believe in me you’ll suffer for eternity”?) Also here we can notice how Allah already foreseen everything; he also brought a Jinn among angels to do so (as angels do not have free will). - Judaism: here there is “Satan” (which means “the adversary”) and we find references of his previous life as an angel with his brothers Uriel, Raphael, Gabriel and Michael. He is also presented as the being who brought death into the world, but that can’t be as God is the only one who can give life and decide for deaths. It’s simple to observe how it was NECESSARY a negative and opposite figure to God’s one. Lucifer was created with the only intent to make the Hell a place where people like him could follow. And, just as in a political campaign, God portrayed Lucifer in a negative light (when the one who created him this way was only him!). In the end, Lucifer was necessary, as in every religion or mythology there is the famous dichotomy good/evil, so I don’t understand why we should demonize him. A character who bravely decided, started a war to defend his right to think and act the way he wanted to and to not be a puppet. He is both a hero and a victim of a God’s absolutism and tyranny. As Milton wrote in his Paradise Lost (though this is REALLY taken out from context, as Milton was a Puritan): “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven”’

Originally posted by strange-life-strange-world

It's 2016

And people still misunderstand Hunter x Hunter, as if Togashi’s work hasn’t always been driven and centered around grey morals and the ambiguity of humanity. If you’ve read Level E and Yu Yu Hakusho (esp. the Chapter Black) you know what I’m talking about. Putting the protagonists on a moral pedestal, justifying every damn decision they make and banalizing them, reducing the whole thing to the classical childish good/evil dichotomy is not ok.
No homicide is justified, and in this every character is the same, with no exception. The fact Kurapika kills for revenge doesn’t make him different from the Genei Ryodan who kills for money. The fact Gon kills to FEEL BETTER about himself doesn’t make him different from Hisoka who kills for fun.
On the contrary, in the very moment you stop fighting to protect the people you care about you fall right into the villain position.
Togashi is enamored with the practice of reversing shonen tropes and deconstructing them. It’s not a coincidence that in both the arcs in which revenge is involved the protagonists and the antagonists roles arre exchanged. The japanese word used for humanity’s evolution by Netero it also can mean humanity’s infinite evilness. The ants are killed by it, in the form of a bacterial atomic bomb which resembles Hiroshima’s for obvious reasons.
Uvogin and Pitou die protecting their dear ones and ideals, killed by the same fucking unfair nen trick.
Kurapika saves himself because he remembers, in time, the value of love and friendship. Gon steps on it, turning his back to what he believed in and forcing Killua to face his own guilt (his sudden interest in his sister is not completely genuine). The narrative punishes him by depriving him of the nen.
When the author himself, directly or by the voice of another character (like Melody), says protagonists and antagonists are the same you should not go around saying differently.

The Dark Continent is not going to be easy, it will need constructive and comprehensive reading. So be honest and try to avoid banalizing the narrative.

Y'all realize you can like, be cool with people in positions of social privilege/power over you on a conditional basis, right? Like, you can simultaneously be wary of folks as a group while cultivating relationships with people in that group who don’t display the dame prejudices as others? Its not a hard dichotomy of “all X are evil” or “suspecting that any X could be a bigot is paranoid and wrong.”