For fans of the show Supernatural (2005-2020) – in Romania it was known as Adventures in the World of Darkness, which made me smile as it reminded me of the cartoon version of Tales From the Crypt I used to watch when I was a kid. I’m using elements of the show as prompts, as I feel that some aspects of canon are “off” somehow or not reaching their full potential, while others really resonated with me. See Innuendoes for the source of the lore presented herein, and Axis Mundi for… well, for the Axis Mundi. The blood and gore found in each episode along the two-lane asphalt road would then be symbolic of a crucifixion, but what does that mean exactly?
… And why do vegans always get screwed in the deal?
The Supernatural Hunting Diary of Adina Ispas
Born 1 June 1983. No relation to the Angel Adina, but much relation to the army captain of King David. David-and-Jonathan. Lovers of the world unite, you alone know what is right. Mom named me after an art teacher from Buzău. Between the years 1987 and 2001, I always saw it as me being “in training” – fully self-taught, though sometimes I received encouraging messages from “older colleagues” as they called themselves. I often tried to share my insights with my peers at school, but that never went well, so I just decided I was going to stay on my path and see where that went. The following is a description I use on one of my profiles, which is about travelling but can be applied to any form of initiation, whereby we leave an old life behind: “The most important thing I’m learning is the vision that I can identify with the freedom I find on my travels, instead of worrying about explaining myself back home. That was quite a revelation!” (That’s not to say I’m no longer sociable, it just means that when I cloud myself in shame I confuse myself, losing my proper intuition of happiness.) I think I was born with the ability to teach myself everything because I knew there weren’t many of us awake, but I was still shocked when I understood just how rare magic was in this world, seemingly dwindling by the hour. I felt betrayed, like I had been put here under false pretenses. Then I decided to do something about it: I prayed to the Evening Star that night, asking to remain in touch with the inner fire, continue experiencing that mysterious warmth I believed was “my special secret.”
And now, for the meat and bones…
The symbolism of the perpetual road trip and the black 1967 Chevrolet Impala, as relating to the Axis Mundi – with the help of Wikipedia: ancient Greek has two verbs for crucify: anastauroo (ἀνασταυρόω), from stauros (which in modern Greek only means “cross” but which in antiquity was used of any kind of wooden pole, pointed or blunt, bare or with attachments) and apotumpanizo (ἀποτυμπανίζω) “crucify on a plank,” together with anaskolopizo (ἀνασκολοπίζω) “impale.” In earlier pre-Roman Greek texts anastauro usually means “impale.”
Gee, thanks for that mental picture (say it a few more times: impaaale…). Now we’ve arrived in Dracula territory as well, and what’s funny is that I have in my library this historical fiction book I inherited, which totally ships Vlad Dragonborn the Impaler and Steven the Great of Moldova – so make of that what you will. I just wanted to bring you to Romania for a bit, because something stood out to me from the old tales: my ancestors the Getae believed they were born here once upon a time from a virgin named Geea, the Black Land (virago is Latin for “acting like a man”). Our fairytales revolve around the initial virgin birth and the subsequent adventures that blood brothers go on (also known as crossroads brothers), their helpers and their foes. The Biblical term for virgin also translates as “black land.” So for me, whenever I see historical or fantasy characters with “black” or “dark” in their high-sounding names, it draws attention to an ancient tribal relationship with the Getae – more specifically with their royalty (e.g. Ancalagon the Black). According to historians, these were at one point the same people as the Dacians (Goddess Danu, the Danube) who are known for having a wolf-dragon depicted on their banners. There was however a slight difference, in that the people of Danu identified their origins with the Water of Life (the life-giving river form of the Goddess) whereas the Getae came from the Black Land, as said (death and burial). Still, their religious teachings told of how these were “the same Water and the same Earth” in both cases, in other words they were all one family. Likewise, there was some suggestion floating around that these Life vs. Death identifications were in fact reversed, and only the highest initiates would be able to grasp the meaning.
Awesome! Let me break this down for you:
Demon-WhoreTM – a woman who is strongly attracted to gay men. It is a widespread archetype, examples include Galadriel and her shadow version Shelob, Madonna, Lady Gaga and Lord Gaga, etc. Lilith however was not such, because the story says she went to Ahriman “out of boredom” and asked him to give her “desire for man” as a gift. He kissed her on the forehead (opening the portal of Angel Raziel, “Secrets of God”) and then she “knew.” Of course, the initial impression gained from this myth is that women turn to sex when they’re bored, hence the “Bros Before Hoes” trope. However, feeling bored indicates Lilith was extremely intelligent and intuitive, searching for something different. Moreover, the principle or rather its underlying theory “love is fleeting, but true companions are forever” is completely useless in practice, since the person you will always love and be responsible for is your true companion anyway – obviously not only not fleeting, but also above all that sad posing as a self-sacrifice when what you are is happy. Besides, the concept behind stories of valiant male brotherhoods was women’s empowerment, not their exclusion. So what is striking here is that Ahriman’s (Lucifer’s) consciousness had “desire for man” in it all along – which is meant to be read as one word, not as divided into “desire” as experienced by Lilith, for “man” as represented by Adam. (Unity is key: when I decided not to feel torn anymore, that was the beginning of me “raising the Earth’s axis back to its rightful position.“)
Supernatural People – the Family Tree of Adam and Eve. Having just established that Eve was now, via Lucifer, in possession of the secret which explained why Adam was forbidden to eat from the Tree (the “miraculous” life-giving powers of the Goddess) then why did they go ahead and create that family tree anyway? This question has been puzzling people for millennia, with some making a rather racist claim that such creatures would be soulless and therefore easily controlled. While in our time smart people often reimagine the story as one of triumph rather than a Fall, or even go as far as pointing to abstract cosmic forces instead of a living, breathing ancestral pair of humans, there is something more to the story and it only makes sense if we are indeed talking about two people who entered a deal consciously: if Adam and Eve were each other’s soulmate, sharing the union of spiritual and physical love, there would be no imbalance of power in their family, who would’ve been born as any natural family is born – no need for all the symbolism, triangles, pentagrams and hexagrams to explain their identity to them and to others. Such imbalance or struggle for dominance and assertion in the social hierarchy is anything but “miraculous,” it’s dark and heavy, and mirrors the original quarrel between Adam and Lilith before she flipped him the bird. But the psychic powers with which the Kids are born make it possible to untangle those very strings, and ultimately bring balance (“you know, stop all the monsters, all the bad”). According to legend, there were two families: one in the beginning, and another one who received the knowledge that the Soul is important. If the secret of the Soul had not been passed on to the family, then during the event of the planetary disaster mentioned in the history of the Axis Mundi everything would have been lost, the Light Body no longer accessible to anyone on Earth. That is why we are told the initiation story of how our ancestors “fell” in creating us, in other words took on the roles of Dark Lord and Lady. But such symbolism shouldn’t be taken too seriously, because in truth the Light Body is still accessible. We just need to get over our racial prejudice and see Humanity as a whole.
“Wrong. That’s wrong. Does anybody fact-check this stuff?”
Bombadil-o Devil-o. I oscillate between having multiple issues with the entire Lucifer arc and having none, because it occurs to me the many, many troubles as depicted on the show could actually be the results of its own premise: that Angels need to inhabit hosts in order to walk the Earth (this could also be a meta-reference to how we are watching a show with “characters” played by actors). In that case, the vessels would constantly experience unnatural highs and lows, as well as misrepresent the spiritual concepts accessed in this fashion. In my experience, the human body acts as both an antenna and a decoder, so it’s a good idea to look for the embodied reality of whoever it is you’re talking to, the Spiritual Light Body which is the main logo or symbol on the show: the anti-possession tattoo. (There’s a long story about how I did that exact thing with The Lord of the Rings, whenever I get time to add to that as well…) So yeah, just come out. It could be quite nice after all: combining powers, reviving an aging rock band…
Atlantean Rangers. Whenever I watch films or shows with a fantasy or sci-fi theme, even if they are set far into the future, my feeling is that they are about the past, representing a post-Flood era when supernatural abilities dwindled somewhat, but there were still some active groups around. However, there are references on Supernatural that place it squarely in our time – the main characters being Gen X, living in the USA, listening to rock tunes and watching TV shows that many people will recognise, not as the inspiration behind the world-building as in those other stories, but as contemporary world-building elements in themselves – so I cannot apply the same theory here. I just had to mention it because I woke up one morning with that vivid thought in my head, that Sam and Dean were Atlantean Rangers – and I know why my subconscious went there: “By the blood of our people are your lands kept safe!” 🙂
A Dream of Atlantis. Several, in fact, mainly because I’m preoccupied with the topic – especially with Tolkien’s version called Númenor, which is illustrated as a Venus pentagram shape, an island raised from the Sea to house the tribe who followed the Cosmic Being indicated by a hexagram. It also ties in with “true dreams” within that universe. Just sayin’: Castiel “being and feeling” (hopelessly crushing on Dean, that is) is not the biggest news on Angel Radio, writers – did no-one ever wonder, at all?
By the way, I’m sorry Sam W. has such a weird and traumatic experience with Hexy, the Cosmic Being – I will explain more about it in conjunction with Rowena’s – but that’s due to how people are taking the initiation story of our origins and reversing it to suggest our psychic gifts come from “demon blood” making us “impure” therefore unable to access higher realms. That’s like taking out the knowing from the knowledge. So instead of seeing that NOT using our gifts is what traps us in this fallen reality, people worry the gifts will trap us in this fallen reality. And that worry makes our Atlantean heroes act out so much pseudo-heroism it’s making my head hurt. Typical of Mankind: violence and death are perfectly acceptable, but erotic hints? Never! Listening is feminine, so anyone asking you to listen must be the Devil, because he can’t possibly mean what he says… it would make him feminine, which is unthinkable. Like a ginger Irish Fairy with pink wings and a green dress.
The Venus Double Pentagram. This is used for everything from exorcisms to casting spells, so it must mean that it… is everything? 🙂 Oh and the Latin used for all the spells: Latina – Altina – Oltina… shall we go home then, Romanes?
Hunting vs. Control. Even before the characters figured out that working with the British Men of Letters was bad news after all, I kept shouting at my phone screen, “No! Don’t use their methods! Hunting isn’t perfect, obviously, but it’s about being in it with your whole body… that’s a very different kind of intel. Your skills are the whole point. Those guys just want to control everything.” I guess that’s why people say I am terrible for enjoying movies with. 😀 So what were the Brits missing? In the episode where Dean gets turned into a vampire, the sheer eroticism of the moment leading up to it is shown through the eyes of a special witness, albeit a soulless one at the time. But does that mean what it says on the tin, or does enjoying the sight of the transformation actually return the witness’s soul for a brief moment? There’s a very similar scene in the book The Civilized Vamps (1992), a beautiful glimpse of balance filled with a shame-arresting quality:
“This book tells of how he got poisoned, which was when they tied him to a tabletop and a stranger came in etc. Originally, the line within the book went as so – ‘You wanted to be one of us, so now you are’, but I got a massive guilt complex over that one, the usual, that’s a cruel thing to say routine.”
Ribs, poles, crosses, roads, planks, tabletops… that Earth axis sure gets inventive with its design! When a dude at my school looked at me like that, my classmate described that look as “Girl, the guy put on three pairs of glasses!” (“There was an Orc with a whip, and then it turned into Sam!” “I wish. Uh, I mean what a horrible nightmare you had there, master, me dear.”)
Life is not a Hero’s Journey, unless you figure out who sees yours that way. Because Salmon Dean is a fast fish running from bears, and Bonnie Tyler definitely needs two heroes – remember how the Hydra was defeated?
I remember how the Hydra was defeated. Back in 1990 I was teaching myself how to read, and once I’d decoded a few books I knew by heart from having had them read to me by Grandma, I went for the Heracles legend (it sounded important). When I got to the end, I felt a strange mix of emotions: great sadness, deep longing, but also like “this is what I was put here to do.” The author was suggesting that after closing their copy of the book, readers should go out and look for Olympus in real life, following the path that had been opened by the hero’s journey. Symbolically, Heracles represents the Sun, sinking beneath the horizon while wearing a blood-soaked shirt and rising again in the heavens that are now rearranged after the completion of his Twelve Labours (notice the Earth axis reference here as well). I thought, how is that possible? This was clearly a controversial figure, caught in an inner battle, and in real life nobody seemed too keen on following that path to Olympus. For what – so we could chat with the Greek gods and do their bidding? (Later in life, I would always notice that same awkward disconnect in other myths.)
“Miss, look what I can do!”
But there was something about the story of how his companions looked for someone to light the hero’s funeral pyre and free him from pain that had me in tears, because in a flash of insight I just knew what it all really meant: someone had been close to him on his travels, knew the man behind the myth, and yet the myth endures through such a beautiful image as the Sun itself pulling the soul towards the heavens and completion. That spiritual vision belonged to the companion who lit the funeral pyre, and the sadness and longing I sensed did too.
“Hercules Tour – the partner of your travels!” (Drobeta, Romania)
Territorial identities and elusive paternities in Sardinia
Vegan Bakeries, the Source of All Evil. Seriously? That episode could have done so much more with the growth arc of Dean’s character, as he gets to speak Animal Esperanto for a bit, and as a result does come around to the plight of dogs, helping them escape from their kennels. But why stop at dogs? Couldn’t he have applied the same logic to all the animals? To those rats? Or to the animals in the meatpacking factory that we are forced to see? This particular failure to grow by the end of an ep is disturbing because the same baiting dynamic goes on and on throughout the show, making us think that maybe this time he’ll learn something from the experience, then breaking our hearts: Dean silences Sam, bullies him for trying to inspire change, while the audience is expected to find this traumatic viewing experience funny. It isn’t funny. Dean suffers from pseudo-individualism (he overcompensates for the absence of a strong identity) and there are other aspects of it which can be played up for humorous effect; but the line has to be drawn somewhere, especially when the abusive behaviour is inconsistent with the character’s deeply caring and sensitive nature. I finally became vegan in 2013 and I went through a lot during those years, so I’m glad I wasn’t watching the show when it originally aired. Because they are in the past, the older seasons’ veggie-baiting isn’t so disturbing now (it sets up the Cain and Abel thing and that’s a whole other story) but the more the show progresses towards 2020, it becomes less escapist and more of a painful reminder of how limited people’s capacity for compassion tends to be. Dude, we’re not on about cucumber water here.
My God, The Actors vs. Shippers Drama. I can’t believe what mine eyes are reading: could anyone really have been that douchey? Who do these famous people think they are without their fans, anyway? And most of all, why do actors so often confuse their own identity with the role, then accuse fans of being delusional? That is some weird shit right there. Have to say though, being late to the party, what I saw was not a show mocking its fans (ew… like EWW!) but instead mocking itself by showing the characters as bound within their own frame of reference and ultimately clueless – while we, the fans, are not. What turns out to have been mockery, I took as inverted references to that Truth the fans were on to. A case of, if we mention subtext mockingly on the show we draw much more serious attention to it instead of it being ignored. I guess I was wrong to see such enlightenment where there was only rebuffing, but somehow it still resonates as support when I look back on it (especially Jared’s “shocked and concerned” looks are as camp as a row of tents) so something bigger must have been at play there, working to inspire growth for everyone involved – I’m glad we get a hard-won peace by the end of the series. Unlike the non-evolution of the veggie-baiting, this is fun! It’s also quite profound, in that the meltdown very clearly points out the non-existence of the “you” inside your head, better than any transcendental yoga class ever could. I hold Fan Fiction as the most moving episode of the entire series, by the way – but even earlier, I could see the façade cracking:
“The show introduced two minor characters who roleplay as Sam and Dean at LARP events. These characters later reveal the truth to the real Sam and Dean: they view the brothers’ subtextual relationship as a mirror of their own real-life queer relationship. Though GLAAD evidently viewed this episode positively, the fictional brothers Winchester are, of course, grossed out…”
No, they’re not! Stop looking at the surface only… I vividly remember Dean helplessly grinning into his car keys after that exchange, as if thinking to himself, “Our subtext is a mirror! That’s so cool!” Also, just because someone acts all affronted or confused, it doesn’t mean they are angry, only that they are deflecting shame. So I took that banter as a small instance of growth. Maybe GLAAD are psychic too, haha. It’s always a struggle to explain how this thing works for us.
For me, it has never been about fighting to get gay relationships represented more overtly in the stories I love (though such activism is certainly important) but about me loving the intense feelings a story elicits by bringing a significant meaning and purpose to enduring male partnerships, as Ed from the Ghostfacers says: “And all this time you were teaching us about heart and about dedication and about how gay love can pierce through the veil of death and save the day.” That’s not just Castiel-ex-Machina bringing that teaching at the end through his confession of love; that’s the definition of the entire show, at the core, of what the brothers are doing looking for clues of imbalance, decay and ruin, trying to set things right. Always together. This is an ancient formula of storytelling, hence its appeal, its parallelism to other shows, and ultimately its deconstruction of the fictional details that add a kind of “forbidden fruit” tension (they are necessary, because how else would you explain that someone has been there your entire life, in a very real way, without making it look unreal?). The “veil of death” refers to the tilt in the Axis Mundi – Cas tells Dean to travel along the Axis in Heaven (which he sees as an asphalt road) and he will find Sam there, then everything will be all right. The ending shows Sam and Dean reunited on that same bridge. Quote, “a long-forgotten human desire to raise the Earth’s axis back to its rightful position so that we are reconnected again to God.” This reveals that Castiel, a messenger of God, is actually in love with the bro bond Dean holds on to in his heart, just like fans use their imagination to “ship” the ideal of people holding on to each other in that significant and essential way. From this symbolic mirroring between Heaven and Earth, both containing the same road, we understand that God is just another name for the Soulmate – other names being Angel, Demon, Ghost, Witch, Vampire (One who flies in Dreams) and so on, the entire Supernatural range. These different creatures representing supernatural abilities cease to wreak havoc when Balance (“peace when you are done”) is achieved, and you have that understanding which allows you to be with your soulmate forever and create any dream from then on (let me just say I am getting a huge kick out of us calling Raziel “Raz” as I’ve always wondered what that was about). And yes, that mirrors not just queer relationships but ALL relationships with our respective “God.”
That is why I respect all, for real, not just like throwing us a bone for laughs then going back to the “normal” version. For people to accuse us of being disrespectful to the creative vision (as it is interpreted by a privileged subset of fandom) is just heartbreakingly unfair, ignorant of where creativity comes from – i.e. NOT from that “you” inside your head – as are the speculations on our motives and the confusion of levels that we ourselves don’t confuse at all (the practice of “shipping” is totally separate from “being hot” for this or that person, I thought that was crystal clear for everyone, but perhaps it’s true that without accepting asexuality as part of the queer spectrum you’re only getting half the story). Maybe try and look at the explanation I’ve provided on Lilith’s special discovery from long ago and why it’s important, “a life-saver” indeed. Also try looking up what “platonic” meant to Plato, because the modern usage of the term was invented much later, during the Renaissance, and it’s not the same. Personally, I’d like to say I feel nothing but infinite gratitude for Misha, Jared and Jensen at this point, I kept thinking “THANK YOU” the whole time, because as a result of taking this journey I feel like my psychic self again – it’s an amazing feeling. One can only hope that they got just as much out joy of it, as the ending suggests.
Goddess Bhavani, the God-Detecting “Samulet” and the Meditation of the Secret Fire. Kinda self-explanatory after what I’ve written above, but it’s the story of how I entered this fandom and what happened immediately after.
Deflected & Surrogate Eroticism. Two words: Crossroads Demon.
Lay Me Down in Darkness. [illustration]
[to be continued]