MUSIC, MOVIES AND BOOKS – THE PRIMORDIAL SHAMANIC TRADITION OF ART AND SCIENCE
Do you remember being asked to list your favourite music, movies and books, in order to connect with other people? I remember being like that in primary school, all of us with our individual questionnaires (for some reason, we called them “oracles”), but it no longer applies as an adult. There is a bigger picture here: the emotions, thoughts and lived experience of the individual, through such cultural experiences. Likewise, this list is always growing, so it doesn’t show you how I contextualize information for myself. That’s why I decided to write a more in-depth essay about what I get from music, movies and books – not least because of my current project to study library courses and information science in the contemporary world.
My perennial cultural project has ever been to find the connection between “embodied” stories like fairy tales and the idea of a universal science still to be grasped by Mankind. This is a simplified account of how it all played out.
Some of my all-time favourite books are children’s books I read, which taught me about respecting animals as sentient beings.
During my early school years I was captivated by everything adventure, mythology, fairy tales, Native Americans, the Holy Grail, male brotherhoods and Atlantis. Specifically I was interested in the transition from “bromance” to romance between males, that I first intuited in fictional insect characters (I ran around the classroom, book in hand, forcing my peers to read that paragraph and “feel these amazing feels”!) and that later got me to meet a few of the surprisingly numerous people (tomboys, mostly) sensitive to this form of fantasy. When I use the word fantasy, I do not mean something unreal, but rather a form of science through which you approach someone else’s reality with a genuine wish to learn about it. In reality, insects do behave that way (a proportion of 85 per cent), so their image was used because to use human characters would have introduced socially imposed negativity to children, instead of genuine discovery. I am grateful for those genuine discoveries, that always seemed to happen in forgotten pockets of time and space which lined my childhood ever so curiously.
I’d also been fascinated by Freddie Mercury and Queen since childhood, so in school their music got me into illustration as a form of escape. This way I found that it is an “introduction to the primordial metaphysics” as Mircea Eliade would call it. In those days, I began searching for someone who could reveal whether the Glam Rock era had been, in essence, real or fantasy (at this point my definition of fantasy had shifted somewhat, due to negative social experiences). This person, as I saw the desired future play out in my mind, would appear in a very Velvet Goldmine (1998) inspired setting, even as those times were no longer in fashion, somehow.
Again for the feels, I enjoy Persian poetry known as Sufi (of Zoroastrian origins) and Scandinavian music. That explains “Viking madjus” now… intriguing! This type of poetry, much like “the true story of the novel” – that is, seen from a feminine perspective (novel writing was born as a personal stand against the abuses from dominant cultures which interpreted freedom as being only a privilege system) stems from the individual’s quest (often termed “flight”) to commune with the ideal lover, who is both earthly and angelic. Thus it reads universal without bypassing the personal, without making the spiritual into an impartial parent charged with babysitting believers. Instead, it leads to empowerment, which in turn may have an effect on social dynamics.
I like the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, because he used his Dreams to access information beyond his religious beliefs. The movies based on his books promote a total misunderstanding there… which appears rooted in Tolkien’s own approach to High Elves as ultimate ideals. Yet his vision of the True Elves’ nature is unique and groundbreaking, and it often pulled him in much more interestingly.
I recommend reading Gary Osborn’s Axis of God to gain adjacent insight into the Elvish stuff, which appears equally distorted by our own history and by certain illusions of the Fairies themselves. The debate must go on. (Osborn’s research suggests that a vanished culture is not the only focus of the clues left behind in art, there is also a grand search for a special representative of that vanished culture who can reveal the science of the ancients to us. Yet such a person appears to be their greatest fear, by representing the misunderstood Void. So let me join in the search, though perhaps I have already met with the Simurgh!)
Though there are some exceptions, I don’t like Hollywood movies anymore, because they reverse what was supposed to be cinematic alchemy – but let’s say Legend (1985) was a timely puzzle piece. Sadly, most Hollywood films have an anti-knowledge perspective. The only current I still relate to is the tomboy idealism of the 1980s, it seems it cannot be replicated today. I also like catching reruns of older movies with spiritual topics, because the context has changed so much since then – it’s hilarious how scared we used to be, of what’s inside.
Japanese animé and Cartoon Network were a big part of my life after 1989, when the fall of Communism made for an abundance of new-old shows being broadcast in Romania, in several languages. This makes me happy because unlike most of my compatriots I never fell for the transfer of power to the Church, and instead I connected with a Pagan (or rather: Shamanic) substrate teaching me about integrity and self-worth.
Speaking of which, I am fascinated by how the fantasy series American Gods defines the core notion of God, as it is that original concept: your love, your man, your jinn (the daimonic).
To conclude, I grew up being constantly disappointed by book-to-screen adaptations as they never seemed to get that inner Fire (the true Void) I would experience via my imagination, and which I drew as a circumpunct when I was four years old. This circumpunct turned into a rainbow vibration on paper, and from there my entire artistic universe was formed, while still remaining the original dot (I would try to explain this to those who asked what those drawings meant). And such disappointment can be compared to feeling that, as Romantic poet Mihai Eminescu put it, the outer world will never contain your ideal love. But that is merely your illusion, the veil you hold around yourself. Having met those who have lifted theirs or even just thinned this veil slightly, and having seen what it takes to finally mirror that inner world of ideas on the outside, I could definitely connect with an incarnated version of the cosmic. So I don’t believe in “loving everybody” romantically, religiously or otherwise – but I believe in the very real possibility of true friendship with everybody, once you have communed with your jinn in love, as this influences your whole reality and your interactions in this Wild Playground.