From Paganism to Islam

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been keeping up with this blog as much as I used to. The truth is that from 2017-Present I have gone through a series of events that have forever changed my life, and challenged me to my very core. To make a long story short, I went through cancer and the death of a very dear friend (who was also one of the biggest fans of this blog). In the midst of my suffering, I could not use antidepressants, alcohol or even vitamin supplements to help relieve the pain because of potential interaction with my chemo drugs.

So in the midst of my pain, I delved even deeper into my spirituality than before. As I describe my journey from paganism to Islam, it is not my purpose to disparage paganism, or any other religious belief, but rather just to describe my own personal journey. If anything, much of the spiritualities I explored previously were actually helpful in leading me to my current path, which is why I have decided to keep this blog up and running.

I came to paganism at 13 years old because the teachings of the Catholic Church did not make sense to me. Why did we have a Heavenly Father but no Earthly Mother? Was God a divorced dad? It was at 13 that my goth friends introduced me to Wicca, a spirituality with a divine mother and father. This seemed more comprehensive to me. I think there is much beauty in Wicca, in terms of connecting to the divine feminine power of nature.

However, as I got more interested in studying ancient pagan traditions, I found that in many ancient pagan traditions, they believed in a supreme god that was above the other gods.

I am not saying that all primeval religions were the same. But many have similar themes.

For me personally, it got confusing having so many different gods to worship. I wondered, if it is legitimate to worship the Celtic goddess Brighid, then why not worship all the gods? I also wondered why I should limit myself to just Celtic gods. Just because I am ethnically Celtic, does not mean that the African gods and Egyptian gods have no power? And I do also have some small traces of Iranian DNA, so do 2% of the gods I worship have to be Persian? I had a strong desire to get in touch with the supreme creator of the whole world. I wanted to have a connection with a god that was the god of everyone. I wanted to feel a sense of brother and sisterhood with all mankind, not just fellow Celts. And given that I have some extended family members who are not white, it seemed weird to me to limit myself to only people of my ethnic background.

More than serving the one supreme creator of everything, I also wanted to transform myself. I wanted to make myself better through a powerful spiritual alchemy. I wanted to become worthy of serving my creator.

As I researched religions, I found that the core message of Islam was the closest to what I was looking for.

And they were not commanded except to worship God , [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give to charity. And that is the correct religion. (Quran 98:5)

Of course there are all sorts of Hadith (reported sayings of the Prophet Mohammad PBUH) out there that call for extra things, cruel things. Some argue these hadith are not authentic and some argue that they are. I am not gonna touch that hot potato. All I am going to say is that it is some of these Hadith that scared me away from Islam for a time. But then when I did my own research, I found that the Quran was written around Mohammad PBUH’s lifetime, and the final version was compiled under the Caliph Uthman about 20 years after Mohammad PBUH’s death. Whereas much of the hadith (written sayings about Mohammad) we have today were written more than 150 years later. So in terms of my own Islam, I mainly focus on the message of the Quran since it is more of a primary source.

The Quran is a revelation given to the prophet Mohammad from God in 7th century Arabia. The message is that there is one supreme benevolent creator and the purpose of life is to serve this creator. One serves their creator through worship, fasting, doing good deeds and giving to charity. But the interesting thing is that the Quran also makes the point that God doesn’t actually need anything from us.

O mankind, you are those in need of God, while God is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy. (35:15)

So I realized it was to MY benefit, not God’s benefit, for me to do these acts of worship. And as I committed myself to prayer, volunteering and building self discipline through fasting, I did find myself transformed as an individual, like a sword tempered in burning flames.

Maybe some might say my journey to Islam from Paganism is strange. Maybe even hypocritical. But even Abraham in the Quran experienced a similar journey.

And when Abraham said to his father Azar, ‘Takest thou idols for gods? I see thee, and thy people, in manifest error.’ So We were showing Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and earth, that he might be of those having sure faith. When night outspread over him he saw a star and said, ‘This is my Lord.’ But when it set he said, ‘I love not the setters.’ When he saw the moon rising, he said, ‘This is my Lord.’ But when it set he said, ‘If my Lord does not guide me I shall surely be of the people gone astray.’ When he saw the sun rising, he said, ‘This is my Lord; this is greater!’ But when it set he said, ‘O my people, surely I am quit of that you associate. I have turned my face to Him who originated the heavens and the earth, a man of pure faith; I am not of the idolaters.’ His people disputed with him. He said, ‘Do you dispute with me concerning God, and He has guided me? I fear not what you associate with Him, except my Lord will aught. My Lord embraces all things in His knowledge; will you not remember? How should I fear what you have associated, seeing you fear not that you have associated with God that whereon He has not sent down on you any authority?’ Which of the two parties has better title to security, if you have any knowledge? Those who believe, and have not confounded their belief with evildoing — to them belongs the true security; they are rightly guided. S. 6:74-82 Arberry

Also, the Quran states that prophets were sent around the globe to all mankind. Meaning many of the spiritualities and beliefs of our world potentially came from a single, universal truth. (10:47)(35:24).

Another interesting thing many westerners don’t realize about Islam is that the Quran is supposed to be a continuation of the message of the Bible. Indeed there is much language in the Quran venerating Jesus, Mary and the prophets of the Old Testament.

“And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you.” (2:41)

“Those who believe (in the Quran), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians – Any who believe in Allah And the Last Day, and work righteousness, Shall have their reward.” (2:62)

Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel – for he brings down the revelation to thy heart by Allah’s will, a confirmation of what went before. (2:97)

To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it and guarding it. In safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way. (5:48)

And [as We exalted Moses, so, too,] We made the son of Mary and his mother a symbol [of Our grace], and provided for both an abode in a lofty place of lasting restfulness and unsullied springs. (23:50)

So what am I going to do with MetalGaia now? I have taken a long break from the blog as I thought through that question. But I still think exploring the different spiritualities of the Earth is relevant. I still think grappling with universal truths is important. Also, it is necessary to explore these subconscious truths as they emerge in the art and music of our time. This is vital because we are living in a time when synthetic/toxic values are destroying the planet (and by consequence human life). We need a message of spiritual truth to save us now more than ever.

Dune 2021 Film

The new Dune movie (based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 “Dune”) is an artistic masterpiece. It is the story about a messianic leader chosen by fate to change the universe. Those who are in power are a destructive force that needs to be stopped.

Paul Atreides (played by Timothée Chalamet), is a brilliant and naturally gifted young man who was born into a great destiny. He must travel to a dangerous planet to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces seek to exploit the natural resources of this planet, Paul Atreides bands together with a people who are connected to the natural life forces of this planet in order to fight back.

The 2021 film is only the first half of the novel. The second film is predicted to come out in 2023.

Denis Villeneuve is the director. He also directed Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival. 

Check out the following links for more information.


Underground Web World Dune Links

Dune 1984 Film


Dune Movie Official Site

Dune (IMDb)

Dune 2021 Film (Wikipedia)

Watch Dune on HBO Max


Denis Villeneuve (Wikipedia)

The Man Who Finally Made a ‘Dune’ That Fans Will Love (New York Times)


‘Dune’ Sequel Greenlighted By Legendary & Warner Bros; Pic Will Get Theatrical Window In October 2023 (Deadline)

Director Denis Villeneuve Teases What to Expect in ‘Dune’ Sequel (IMDb)


Where Was ‘Dune’ Filmed? (Condé Nast Traveler)


‘Dune’ What Is the Kwisatz Haderach – and What Does That Mean for Paul’s Future? (Collider)


Dune Novel (Amazon)

Dune Novel Wikipedia

How to Read the ‘Dune’ Books in Chronological Order (Collider, 11-4-21)


Frank Herbert (Wikipedia)

The Biography of Frank Herbert By His Son (Amazon)

The Great Bell Chant – Thich Nath Hanh

Read by Thich Nath Hanh, chanted by brother Phap Niem.

The creators of this audio track were Gary Malkin, the composer/arranger, producer, and collaborator Michael Stillwater. The work came from a CD/book called Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying, and it could be purchased by going to

This post was made in honor of Thích Nhất Hạnh, who died this Saturday. He was a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist, prolific author, poet, teacher, and founder of the Plum Village Tradition, historically recognized as the main inspiration for engaged Buddhism. Known as the “father of mindfulness”, Nhất Hạnh was a major influence on Western practices of Buddhism.

RIP Thích Nhất Hạnh.

Azerbaijan Military Releases Bizarre Heavy Metal Song Amid Clash With Armenia

“They put the guns in Guns and Roses.

The Azerbaijan military has released a bizarre heavy metal music video touting their war weapons and featuring lot of explosions amid a violent dispute with its neighbor Armenia.”

Read more about this on New York Post

The strange thing is that the song isn’t half bad actually. But certainly bizarre. 

New Dune Trailer!

The new Dune movie (based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 “Dune”) is slated to come out December 18th, 2020.

So SOMETHING good will happen in 2020.

Denis Villeneuve is the director. He also directed Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival.

The movie will have big name actors such as Jason Momoa and Oscar Isaac.


Dune 2020 Characters Cast Plot Explained  (Polygon)

3 Reasons Why Dune 2020 is Nothing Like Other Dunes (Inverse)

Dune (IMDb)

Doom Eternal – Most Metal Game of 2020

For anyone here who is a gamer and a metal head, definitely check out Doom Eternal.

It’s probably the only good thing that has happened in 2020.

Great graphics. Great gameplay. Great music.

Goatwhore – To Mourn And Forever Wander Through Forgotten Doorways

Genre: Death/Thrash/Black Metal

Location: United States, New Orleans Louisiana

Themes: Satanism, Darkness, Anti-religion, Armageddon

That title is definitely a mouthful. I don’t think I’ll remember it. Either way, eerie song. Worth checking out.

Samsara Poem


(Original Site I published the poem on)

Bring me your horizon

Let me melt into the sky

To sparkle like the sunshine

And disappear into the night

To be an echoed call

Of the morning Wren

to be a light feather

Drifting into the wind

Don’t think

Don’t feel

Just Flow

Thoughts of a Dying Tree – Poem

(Image Source) (My original post with this poem)

Together we were connected.

But now I am emaciated

A community truncated

A lifeform regulated

A being amputated

Use Deprecated

Life I protected

Now neglected

Use selected









Joker Review – Dionysus Rising (Spoilers)


I am not the first to compare the relationship between the Joker and Batman to the Ancient Greek legends of Dionysus and Apollo. (Jays Analysis) (Pop Philo and Literature) (Research Gate)

In Ancient Greek mythology, Apollo represents order, law, beauty, reason. Dionysus represents chaos, drunkness, primal instincts, sexual urges. The battle between them is one of order versus chaos.

And the sources I mentioned above frame the battle between Batman and the Joker as one of order versus chaos.

What is very interesting to me is that in every Batman versus Joker movie/show I’ve seen so far, Batman is always framed solidly as the source of good, and while the Joker (who is obviously evil) may wreak havoc for a while, before law and order get restored at the end of the day.

Yet Todd Phillips’ Joker tells a different story.


Joaquin Phoenix plays a sympathetic Joker. While the things he does are certainly destructive and evil, the way the movie plays out, we the audience, the typical proletariat layman living in the day-to-day grind, we can actually find ourselves empathizing far more with Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker than the Waynes (Batman’s parents) who isolate themselves from the problems of Gotham in their own world of wealth and privilege.

Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) is struggling to become a stand-up comedian in Gotham City in 1981. His day job is as a clown, in which he gets beat up by the hooligans on the mean streets of Gotham. He works this crappy job to take care of his ailing mother Penny (Frances Conroy). She calls him “Happy,” while deep down, Arthur is anything but. Yet he does his best to “smile and put on a happy face” to please her. But life has not been kind to Arthur. He’s had at least one stint at Arkham Asylum, was abused as a child, and because of his childhood abuse, suffers from a neurological disorder that causes him to break out in maniacal laughter whenever he is anxious or stressed (which is often).  (Ars Technica)

Todd Phillips’ Joker is not a diabolical mastermind, but a troubled man who fell between the cracks of a society that has betrayed him. He goes to court-ordered therapy. But when the funding for that therapy gets cut, he has nowhere to go to get help or medication. And that’s when his further descent into violence and madness begins.

Eventually, he gets fired from his day job being a clown. And while still in clown makeup, he kills three Wallstreet executives on a train. The three men started to physically assault him because of his neurological disorder. When Arthur fights back, it’s self-defense at first. But when the third guy flees the scene, running and screaming for help, Arthur gleefully pursues and kills this man. No longer out of self-defense, but because it made him happy to do so.

Immediately after the attack, Thomas Wayne (Bruce Wayne’s dad) who is running for mayor, publically condemns these three murders. Yet many of the people of Gotham rejoice because they’re tired of living in poverty, and tired of living under a wealthy elite that clearly doesn’t care about them. Protesters put on clown paint, hold signs that say ‘Resist!’ and start rioting in the city.

End the end, Arthur Fleck makes the transition from an unsuccessful, lonely comedian who no one knows about, to becoming a symbol of the city’s Dionysian rage. He stands triumphant with a circle of protesters celebrating him, protesters who are burning and destroying the city. While Bruce Wayne and his parents flee this destruction, only for a masked protester to kill and rob his parents.

The Ancient Greek Bacchae is very similar. It is a story of drunkness, intoxication and self-destruction. In this story, the cult of Apollo reigns over all. It is a cult of order and society. Yet where it once represented ideas of enlightenment and knowledge, it later came to represent a politically corrupt authority, an authority that was drunk off of power and wealth. The ruling authority was a senile group that was far removed from the people and stuck in their own ways.

The God of chaos and hedonism, Dionysus, enters the situation to shake things up. There is a vacuum of power into which he surges. As a long-haired, non-conformist, he arrives at the capital city with an angry mob. This demigod is arrested, interrogated, mocked and thrown into prison.

Yet the authorities could not imprison the violent forces of the primeval. An earthquake leveled the royal palace, destroying the symbol of the Apollonian World Order. Wild women tore cattle to bits with their own hands. Then these women proceeded to dismember the current authorities just like cattle. They played ball with their arms and feet, and then impaled their heads on sticks.

While Todd Phillips’ Joker takes place in 1981, it relates far more to our world today than any other movie I’ve seen this year. I walked out of the movie theater with chills. The character of Arthur Fleck managed to personify a rage/nihilism/antipathy of an increasing number of people who feel that the forces of law/order/society are failing them. Fleck represents a rage that is a powder keg waiting to explode.

Though Todd Phillips’ movie is not at all a glorification of nihilism and violence. Clearly, the violence caused by Arthur Fleck’s insanity is shown as deranged and evil. Rather, the movie is a character study in how these traits arise and manifest in a man who society has abandoned.