“Dark is the spirit of my token. Dark is my call.” Emperor Encorcelled by Khaos
“We have lost sight
Of the night-side of the self
Hunted by the fear
Night-sight is bliss
For he who dares look into
A world where you embrace the opposite
Where you are whole
There is no lasting joy
In numbness and dogma
Too much is too little in knowledge
Driven by mystery” Enslaved Night-sight
The average person looks at a yin yang symbol and immediately thinks ‘Good v/s Evil’, but that is simply not the case. It’s ingrained in us from a young age, through many different channels. Religions see “darkness” as a detrimental force, something controlled by the devil harbouring hatred and advocating ill intent. But darkness is a physical absence and nothing more, a space not yet filled by light. It is an empty vessel, a place to go when rest is needed. When the soul is freed from the sheaths that protect its delicacy from raw physical vibration, it no longer requires darkness or sleep. Its surroundings correspond to its needs or desires. I’ve read that in most advanced planes the sun never sets at all. I will enjoy the dark that Earth has to offer as long as I am here.
While it is true that those who associate with evil are drawn towards darkness, they are the honest ones, for lost is he who hides ill will in the light of day. One cannot look at a man and know his intent, the many infamous cult leaders and misdirected religious heads are evidence of this. Neither can one look at a woman and see beyond the black clothing, talismanic jewelry and tattoos and know that inside her is the deepest love for humankind. Truly it is rare to find us, those Light-givers living in Darkness, though I think there are many more than we realize. In fact, I began this blog in hopes of gathering us together, for we are the heralds of something previously unknown to this world, a unique gift whose light shines in the darkest reaches. I have named us the Hexen, and I meet more of them every age. It is always a welcomed reunion. The Acclamation Of Bonds:
“Brethren and sisters of my circle,
I acclaim thee all.
When guiding stars are clouded and deranged,
fear not to take my hand.
The bonds of trust and unity.
As gods received
till the end.”
With the 1990’s rise of symphonic black metal from the North came the first known “darkness” with such a tender soul, a generation that rejected the illusions common to society by representing the antithesis of them. Yes, this darkness was made famous for professing witchcraft and Satan worship, but from behind the outer layers a glittering intelligence burst forth whose destiny was to map out the lies of man in search for a deeper understanding of self. Rebellion takes many forms.
Historically, “light” began the turn of these souls towards darkness in search of the pagan gods of olde. The Lutheran faith infiltrated Norway and rescended its right to worship Norse gods, who had endured in their belief systems for many hundreds of years. These young adults of the ’90’s, unhappy with the state of the world, distanced from their Viking ancestors by the forced fealty of religion, rejected society’s demands and forged out in the opposite direction, rekindling a reverence for those who came before them. The vast majority of these youth were simply wounded and/or misunderstood, as is the case with most of the tattooed, black-clad youth of today.
Darkness was my friend long before I was told it was bad. Black was my favourite colour from age seven. As a child I spent much time removed from others, one with nature, storms and the nightsky. Once I had been taught that it was something to fear I still gravitated towards it even as I was afraid of it. I was touched by sorrow, drawn towards hurting things, bourne of a need to gather suffering unto myself before I even knew why. My mother says I would always know when she was suffering, even if she hid it from me. That empathic gift would be my downfall long before it became a blessing, but once it bloomed it embraced the entire world.
I loved metal music the moment I heard it. Having come to believe that “God” was a man in the sky that looked upon me with disdain, I welcomed anything that rejected “Him” as the rejected became the rejector. While my twin sister’s nature was to try and appease this god, it was in my nature to rebel against it and so I did with a fervor. She became a devout Christian and I became interested in witchcraft. What a joy it has been to find these many years later that our paths have both taken us to the same end.
It was Emperor’s symphonic black metal, the very genre that professes “God” does not exist, that turned me towards the idea of god. The secret is this: our source energy reaches out to us through whatever paths we choose. Every path leads back to it and yet we are it, returning to ourselves. Each one of us is a god who came here to know the Darkness and the Light, to experience pain and sorrow equally with release and joy, that we may experience all things that exist in all universes. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of man, one religion against another, one colour against another, one musical preference versus another. Just as the nun sings her songs in the convent so the aborigine in the wilds of Australia worships in his way and sings his own songs. So the metal band growls out the deepest questions of man, the philosophies of a new age in which the tide has turned towards change.
“For once I wish to see
the entity behind the voice.
The face of this seduction,
the beauty of my pain.
Am I blessed or am I cursed by thy presence?
What is my crime, what is my deed?
Is this life my redemption?
Shall I repent or proceed?
I hate my flesh.
Its dimension poisoned my soul with doubt.
It made me question
the essence of the “I”.
Slaves are those of this world
given freedom to lay chains upon The Master.”
It was these words that woke me. I knew there was a power greater within me, but the confusion caused by my belief of darkness as evil made me think that it was evil that called me, even as I was rejected by it. As this growling philosopher, Vegard Sverre Tveitan, questioned his own soul and the world around him through lyrics and music, so I began a quest of my own. Through his unflinchingly honest chronicles I found strength, faced my ideas of god for the first time and realized I’d been rejecting “Him” because “He” was not what awaited me. Those songs were with me when I found my ascended master, as well as the day a Viking ship floated down from the sky in a field, ushering in the sunlight, which presented itself to me as an Energy that could not be denied. I do not think of god in terms of common man. Between us there is no difference but that It is where I am headed on the eternal road to integration.
My Brother’s walk paralleled mine for many years until I turned from his Left path towards my own, a direction that would move me above the weight of Earth. Every path is experience gained, one is no more true than another. Once I knew of the power that existed in the universe I fell briefly away from metal, listening to world music because I believed that carrying Light made it my duty to do so. But the darkness inside of me had been an empty vessel waiting to be filled, and metal had a way of presenting itself time and time again when I most needed to be reminded what was real.
Eventually I realized that I am beautiful just as I am, and that darkness, inherent in me since birth, is my chosen direction for this life. Both dark and light live inside me together, as they do all of us.
Since then there have been other bands who scream out spiritual lessons. Some of these take the listener to dark planes, the Left Hand Path, some of them to light, the Right Hand Path. There is a Middle Road, the dark/light mix, ever-quickening towards Source, and it is where I want to go.
Beyond the physical worlds our ideas of evil and good intermingle. There is a Dark Presence out there, make no mistake, but only if we design it, as the only real state that exists is that of love. All roads make way to home, and dark presents opportunities for the light and vice versa.
The death metal bands of today have taken on the banner of spirituality, in fact it has become quite a fad to use cosmic or astral nomenclature in the name of bands, song names and lyrics. I’m sure a few of these are nothing more than the fad, but any fad which brings spirituality into consideration is a useful one. Those who are serious about their message are speaking to fans considered the most extreme of their kind, which I think is an amazing accomplishment. You won’t find death metal fans in the pews at church.
The metal album that has helped me the most these past few years is from the band Enslaved. This album, entitled Axioma Ethica Odini, was my teacher during a most difficult time. Every day. every song spoke the reality of a different aspect of my situation, causing me to move with miraculous grace through moments that would otherwise have been much more difficult. Each time darkness showed me what love could do I loved myself more, an important endeavor for any of us to undertake.
The song “Ethica Odini” speaks directly to those who kill in the name of God (Search beyond the blinded eyes/Listen before you preach/Don’t leave yourself behind/Honor life, when life has ceased). “Waruun” speaks of self-deceit and the worship of constructs (Feared dissonance kept away – nails on stone/As darkness descends/Can’t find your way out of here/Yet… It was built by you). “The Beacon” calls us to ask the elders for help (I walked this far myself/My blood dripped from my knife/I awoke, and was alive/I did no longer weep/I saw my beacon,/I ran to aid). “Axioma” warns us against focusing on others karma (Fear not the settlement with those who fear the truth). “Giants” calls us to return within (See through the flesh/See past the soul/Feel the pulsing twilight/Domain of unborn thoughts/Go back, Unveil/Approach the cosmic womb). “Singular” is a powerful song of the Narrow Way, the lonely path to god (Alone in the daylight/One with reality/Shaped by the inner glow/Determination – I/All can be reached from within). “Lightening” warns against the martyr spirit (You fight the wars for your kin/You leave yourself behind/This settlement, you can’t win/The inner eye is blind).
And then there’s “Raidho”, an ancient text all its own, the path unfolding in all its bloody humanity and beauty. Raidho is my rune, and this song the foreversong of my soul in the union of stillness and change.
This journey without movement
Heading out for no-man’s land
The way ahead my only ally
Early hours, in the silence
This credence keeps me upright
Through the storms and disasters
A straight line towards the unknown end
Deceit waits on the back roads
This unwavering inner
Keeps fear a welcomed pointer
I, uprooted, now the fertile soil
As plot and shadows thicken
This juggernaut cannot be stopped
On any scale or planet
Ghostly tracks in my wake and ahead
An experience, cannot be shared
Wheels of time
Keep them turning
Carriage of concepts
Circling the planes
Lightless voyage, blinding speeds
Certain; I’ll stay the distance
Abstract shapes, enigmatic design
I know enough to endure
Lightless corridors, ageless
Contradictory engines run high
Deeper and further above
Journey of no promises
Beyond the lust for rewards
Focus on the movement of the Wheel
Union of stillness and change
Journey of the ages all
I’ll follow outside the edge
Breath, blood, sacrifice and bleeding eyes
Unending journey ahead