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.
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.
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 wisdomoftheworld.com.
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.
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.
Here are the tour dates repeated below in case you can’t read the tiny font in the poster above.
Amon Amarth Fall 2019 North American Tour Dates:
09/26 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
09/27 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
09/28 – Vancouver, BC @ PNE Forum
09/30 – Edmonton, AB @ Edmonton Convention Centre
10/01 – Calgary, AB @ Grey Eagle
10/03 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
10/04 – Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium
10/06 – Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theater
10/07 – Chicago, IL @ The Riviera Theater
10/09 – Toronto, ON @ Rebel
10/10 – Montreal, QC @ M Telus
10/12 – New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
10/13 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore
10/15 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
10/16 – Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle
10/18 – New Orleans, LA @ The Fillmore
10/19 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
10/20 – San Antonio, TX @ The Aztec Theatre
10/22 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
10/23 – Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
10/25 – San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
10/26 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Palladium
Some of the greatest minds of our time are now saying it’s possible we live in a simulation.
“There’s a one in a billion chance we are not living in a simulation” -Elon Musk
“I find it hard to argue we are not in a simulation.” -Neil deGrasse Tyson
“The universe is a hologram.” – Stephen Hawking
Disclaimer – This article is not saying the people listed above necessarily support some kind of religious idea.They are just talking about reality. But this article was written both to explore religious ideas about reality, as well as what has been said and theorized in modern times.
Concepts from World Religions and Philosophies
Many of the great philosophies and religions of the world have a concept of this “reality” being a test. And that once we are done with this test, our souls go on to some other reality beyond this one. I’m not necessarily saying this is true or not true, just going over some basics of what religions have discussed.
In the spiritual traditions of India there is a concept of “Maya,” which in English is usually translated as ‘illusion’ or ‘unreality.’ Though the translation doesn’t completely represent the whole concept. If I were to attempt to explain this concept (which is complicated), it refers to the illusion of what people think is important versus the greater reality beyond this life. There is a dialectic between getting caught up in the desires of this world and someone focusing on doing their Dharma (spiritual/cosmic duty). There is an idea that each person has a responsibility to fulfill the demands of their dharma, or else there will be long-term consequences on a cosmic scale.
The early 8th century CE Indian philosopher and saint ‘Adi Shankaracharya’ said the following: “Only the knowledge of Vedas can help to take away the veil that hides truth from your eyes. God and you are one! so you should identify yourself with Atman, not with human limitations. The idea that you are bound to this world is only an illusion (Maya). Medium
In Islam, there is also a concept that life is a test. That this reality is the Dunyā, a temporary world that pales in significance to the world that comes after. In Islam our actions in the Dunyā determine whether we will be tortured for eternity in Hell (Jahannam), or experience eternal bliss in Heaven (Jannah).
“We shall try you all, so that We might mark out  those of you who strive hard [in Our cause] and are patient in adversity: for We shall put to a test [the truth of] all your assertions.” 47:31 (Asad)
“And most certainly shall We try you by means  of danger, and hunger, and loss of worldly goods, of lives and of [labour’s] fruits. But give glad tidings unto those who are patient in adversity.” – 2:155 (Asad)
In Christianity, there is an emphasis on giving up the goods of the world in exchange for eternal life.
“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me [Jesus].” Matthew 19:21
There’s also Plato’s allegory of the cave. That a person who is born inside a cave and lives there all their life would not be able to know what is outside of the cave. So with Plato’s logic, if there is something more to this reality than meets the eye, it would be very difficult for us to know.
Modernity and Materialism
In the Western World, the Englightenment happened when people began to get a religious hangover after hundreds of years of religiously motivated war, death, inquisition, etc.
A movement toward observation-based science evolved. Which brought the world many wonderful things, and put to rest more ignorant ideas (such as that burning a witch could be good way to improve next year’s crop yield).
As the Western world modernized, ideas of materialism took over, so too did this idea that existence is only what we can observe, only what we can measure, or can eventually measure. For many educated people, ideas such as Heaven or Hell and a supreme creator sound like fantasy, because we don’t have any proof that these things exist, aside from some old books written by men in a pre-scientific era hundreds (or even thousands) of years ago.
However, just because we don’t have proof for a thing yet, doesn’t automatically cancel it out. The physicist Neil Degrasse Tyson (Astrophysicist) himself has said, “It’s just as intellectually lazy to believe everything you see as it is to deny everything you see.” Watch Here
So is there a world beyond this world? Is this world a simulation? Let’s see what some of the great minds of today are saying.
Theories on the World Being a Simulation:
Nick Bostrom is an Oxford professor with a background in physics, computational neuroscience, and mathematical logic as well as philosophy. He authored a paper in 2003 asking the question, Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?
The publication Mach paraphrases his logic in this paper.
“If there are long-lived technological civilizations in the universe, and if they run computer simulations, there must be a huge number of simulated realities complete with artificial-intelligence inhabitants who may have no idea they’re living inside a game — inhabitants like us, perhaps.” (Mach)
Nick Bostrom’s paper doesn’t necessarily argue that it is true we’re living in a simulation, but that it is a possibility.
“This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.” Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?
Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX has said the following:
“The strongest argument for us probably being in a simulation I think is the following…
40 years ago we had Pong — two rectangles and a dot. Now 40 years later we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it’s getting better every year.
And soon virtual reality will be followed by augmented reality.
If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then soon the games will become indistinguishable from reality, just indistinguishable, and because we will not be able to distinguish real from unreal, It would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in ‘base reality’ is one in billions.” (Medium)
Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist and cosmologist, had a theory that the universe was a hologram.
Specifically, he challenged previous theories of cosmic inflation and multiverse in a paper.
Scientists generally believe that for a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, the universe expanded incredibly rapidly before settling into its present state, filled with stars and galaxies – the inflation theory. (Telegraph)
But some have proposed that, on a grander global scale, inflation goes on forever, giving rise to a “multiverse” – a number of different universes with their own laws of physics. (Telegraph)
Prof Hawking was always troubled by this idea, which at a fundamental level cannot be reconciled with Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. In an interview last year he said: “I have never been a fan of the multiverse.” (Telegraph)
Hawking’s theory embraces the notion that the universe is like a vast and complex hologram. In other words, 3D reality is an illusion, and that the apparently “solid” world around us – and the dimension of time – is projected from information stored on a flat 2D surface.
So the world is flat! (I kid, I kid, don’t get mad!)
This is not to say that Hawking, Musk or Bostrom are supporting ancient religious ideas. Not at all. But simply they are raising the point that reality might be a simulation.
To be fair and balanced, I should also consider arguments from the opposing side. Some physicists have said that they found proof that we are not living in a computer simulation. (Cosmos Magazine)
In a paper published in the journal Science Advances, Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhi show that constructing a computer simulation of a particular quantum phenomenon that occurs in metals is impossible – not just practically, but in principle.
I am certainly not smart enough to refute their argument from a scientific standpoint. However, my reaction is that they were testing the capability of computing with modern ideas of computing. A superior being (or beings) with superior technology may be capable of simulating this particular quantum phenomena with technology beyond our comprehension.
Is There a Purpose to the Reality Simulation?
IF we are in a simulation, what is the purpose? Why was it made?
Disclaimer: The rest of this section is mostly my own speculation and theories (with one thing from Elon Musk). But if you would like to see speculation on why a potential creator would make a reality simulation, here it is.
Part of Elon Musk’s theory is that the reality outside our simulation must be boring, really really boring, as he stated on his interview with Joe Rogan. Because simulations tend to be more interesting and creative than the worlds that exist outside of them.
In Hinduism, there is a concept of creation as God’s ‘play’ or ‘Lila’. (Medium)
A Greater Purpose Than Entertainment?
If it were true that some superior being made us just for sport, then one could argue there is nothing for human beings to strive toward except for one’s own hedonistic cravings. Why try to be good when life is just a game? Why not have a sex marathon? Eat donuts till you die? Get yourself placed on a most-wanted list by going on a killing spree? This is the philosophy of hedonism and nihilism, and simulation theories aside, both are very destructive ideologies that have been condemned by every major world philosophy and religion. If no one has a purpose, if everyone is living for their id, then society cannot exist and function, because society requires shared sacrifice among its members to function.
Getting back to the simulation theory, most games, even if they’re purpose is entertainment, most games have an overarching purpose. Save the universe from the evil aliens. Encourage your Sim to have a healthy lifestyle while not accidentally drowning them in the pool by deleting the ladder. Kill the Endermage. Defend the fort. Slay the dragon.
Within most games and literature that are truly great, there is an underlying theme of good versus evil. And if reality is a complex simulation, I refuse to believe the mind capable of creating it would put in less purpose and meaning into it than a mere human would write into a book.
And while you can always put in cheat codes, or play on sandbox mode, or simply run around doing random things in a separate file, a game is more fulfilling when you can’t use cheat codes, when you have a greater goal to strive toward that usually involves some version of good triumphing over evil.
Not all simulations are for entertainment. Some simulations are designed to predict things, like the weather, to take a bunch of variables, put them through a simulation of different variables, and see what happens.
Perhaps every person, or every soul (if you want to get metaphysical), has different properties. Every soul is an algorithm of sorts. And some creator is putting the algorithm through the simulation to see how they will react to various stimuli. Elon Musk will certainly react to stimuli in a different manner than Cardi B.
Purpose Within the Test?
Perhaps the creator of this simulation is testing “how good,” certain souls are so they can use them elsewhere. The souls that are no good will be deleted, or perhaps even cast into some kind of punishment (Hell?) The souls of the good will move on to the next round. Perhaps to achieve a greater purpose. Perhaps another test.
Who is the Creator? Judge the Creator by the Creation
The bible said human beings were made in God’s image. It might sound completely egomaniacal on the part of humanity to think such a thing. But there’s a certain amount of logic in that statement. Any creator puts something of themselves in their creation. A violent person is going to make a more violent painting than a peaceful person. So it is my belief that to understand God/Our Creator, we must understand ourselves, and reality itself.
Most human beings have an inbuilt desire to do good, but we are dualistic in nature. We are capable of great good and great evil. So perhaps our Creator is also capable of great good and evil, and the metaphor Judeo-Christians have made to understand this is God and the Devil.
But in most theologies where there are good gods and evil gods, the good always ends up triumphing over evil in the end.
And the purpose of most life forms is to exist. To survive. To triumph.
Wisdom from the Ancient Religions – Subconscious Truths Manifest
I don’t think we should necessarily discard religious ideas because they’re old, or because they get the technicality about how the world was created incorrect. I think whatever religions say about how the world was created is less significant than the why. Religion, in my opinion, is mankind’s dramatization of subconscious truths that we do not understand on a conscious level. No human being truly understands themselves. We are too complicated. We are a mess of millions of years of instincts, drives and emotions compartmentalized into a gooey sack of water and meat. Our stories. Our religions. Our mythos. Our superheroes. These are archetypes we use to understand realities that are far too complex for our primitive puny human brains to understand.
Perhaps our religions and our legends (that almost always promote a tale of good triumphing over evil) can shed some wisdom on why this reality was made, and our purpose within it.
After all, you can judge a tree by its fruits.
Perhaps the purpose of reality is what all the great religions have said all along: To be good. To help others. To not be selfish. To not perpetuate suffering, but to triumph above it. To not become too attached to this simulation, but to look toward impressing our Creator, and to what lies in the next reality to come.
Let me tell you a secret about myself. I hate puppets. So I thought I was going to absolutely hate this show, since I was never a big fan of all Jim Henson’s puppet stuff back in the day. I didn’t even like the original Dark Crystal movie. I got bored and fell asleep. (Don’t throw things at me).
But on August 30th, 2019, Netflix released a show based on the original movie, and I begrudgingly gave it a shot.
I was very pleasantly surprised. First of all, the show is way better than the original movie IMHO (Seriously. Don’t throw things at me, it’s rude).
There’s more plot and dialogue. I feel like 85% of the script of the original movie was the Skeksis (the bad guys) making their weird HMMmmMMmMMmMMmM sounds.
Now, I will say that the show can get a bit cheesy (I mean, it’s puppetry mixed with CGI, what do you expect?) And sometimes the dialogue is a bit “As-You-Know-Bob” (characters explaining things to each other that they would already know purely for the audience’s benefit).
But aside from that, the show did a great job of creating a fantasy that is a true fantasy. It immerses you into a world that is just as magical as it is alien. And like any good fantasy, its theme is a battle between good and evil, a battle cast against the beautiful and varied landscape of Thra (the world our characters inhabit).
Like the original movie, Thra is inhabited by the Gelfling (the creatures closest to Thra). And the evil Skeksis are abusing the powers of the Dark Crystal to suck out the essences of the Gelfling. The Skeksis abuse of the Dark Crystal has also started “The Darkening,” an event in which the animals and plants of Thra are corrupted. I think there are many parallels to the environmental destruction of our world today. Just like the same parallels found in Tolkien.
There are seven different Gelfling tribe, and they all inhabit radically different terrain of the world Thra. The Dousan Clan who revere death more than life sail the Crystal Desert in their sandships, amazing constructs of crystal and bone. The Drenchen inhabit the overgrown swamp (Sog). The Sifa sail the seas. The Spiriton are a warrior race who inhabit the rolling fields south of the Dark Wood. The Stonewood Clan has made their home in Stone-in-the-Wood. The Vapra are the oldest of the gelfling, a race of white-haired gelfling who inhabit a snowy region in their city Ha’rar. And then there’s my favorite, the Grottan, gelfling with large black, marsupial-like eyes who live undergound, away from the light of the sun, in caves filled with fantastical glowing, bioluminescent creatures.
I’ve gotten sick of the fantasy genre lately because a lot of fantasy television shows just feel like modern people wearing elf ears and carrying swords. And of course, there is the epic disappointment of the way Game of Thrones ended.
Netflix’s Dark Crystal has reignited my love for the fantasy genre. Looking forward to more!
16-year-old Swedish environmental activist ripped the hearts out of the leaders of the UN for their betrayal of young people, for their failure to act concerning the greatest threat of our time, climate change.
She said: “How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
Afterward, Death Metal internet phenomenon G.T – aka John Mollusk, the drummer of New York thrash metal band Suaka – converted the speech into a death metal song.
Now this death metal version of Greta Thunberg’s fiery speech at the UN Climate Summit in New York is being released as a single with all profits going to Greenpeace.
The song is actually pretty brutal. And the lyrics do make for great metal. Probably because she is saying the harsh truth that today’s world leaders and adults are too cowardly to say.
‘How Dare You’ is bring released as a single in collaboration with the independent hard rock label Despotz Records from Thunberg’s native Sweden. All the record label’s profits from the single will go directly to Greenpeace.
Check out the artwork below:
Despotz Records have also launched a campaign under the hashtag #GREENMETAL and they’re hoping that ‘How Dare You’ will enter the Billboard Top 10 and charts around the world.
How many of you would die for the metal? My friend Azeez is from Iraq. He lived just 50 miles away from where the Islamic State took over. And yet he was openly metal and pagan in a country that would kill him for it.
Eventually he had to flee for his own safety, but in the process he became hospitalized and is now in a terrible situation.
He was one of the biggest followers and promoters of this blog.
Now is the time to help our fallen metal brother. Let us put our forces together to prove that you can’t destroy the metal!!!
His brother needs money to help pay his hospital bills. Every little bit helps. Even if you only have $5. Or maybe you could just share this post. Or maybe you could just post a message of moral support on his GoFundMe page for his family.
DONATE TO HIS BROTHER’S PAYPAL: email@example.com
The average American generates about 2,072 pounds of trash per year. And in total, America produces 254 million tons of trash per year. We only recycle about a third of that trash. And on a global scale, humanity produces 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage per year. (Titlemax).
Where does all this garbage go? Landfills and the world’s oceans. Many reports estimate that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. (One Green Planet)
Obviously the problem of pollution must ultimately be solved by world governments. But as world governments increasingly fail to do what needs to be done, it is up to us as individuals to try and do our part.
Some people are making an effort to adopt what is called a “zero waste lifestyle” in order to reduce their personal carbon footprint. And some people are so good at it that they only generate one mason jar of garbage per year.
People who adopt a zero waste lifestyle have given up on plastic and other disposable amenities in favor of anything re-usable. Many people are familiar with the practice of using re-usable bags at the grocery store, or bringing a mug to Starbucks instead of getting a disposable cup. But zero waste folk go even further than that, going as far to even do re-usable diapers, re-usable feminine products and re-usable toilet paper. It may sound icky, but it’s not impossible, and doesn’t even have to be unsanitary when done right.
Bring mason jars to the grocery store to hold bulk items or foods from the deli counter.
Consider buying bulk castile soap to use as hand and dish cleaner instead of buying a bunch of little bottles of different cleaners.
3) Eat your leftovers
Forty percent of all food goes to waste in the U.S.
4) Shop second hand
Carbon Trust estimates that CO2 emissions associated with clothing account for three percent of global emissions. This number includes out-sourced production, shipping, washing, and drying. Shopping second hand saves good clothing from a landfill and reduces the overall demand for clothing production.
5) Take care of clothes
Buying fewer items of higher quality will save you money in the long run and make it more likely you will take the time to mend rips and tears instead of throwing it out.
6) Bring your lunch
Disposable lunches (to-go packaging, plastic utensils, etc) generate 100 pounds of trash per person annually.
7) Go digital
The average office worker uses two pounds of paper per day! Take notes on your laptop and communicate with your colleague’s via e-mail rather than using paper.
Unless your office has gone completely paper-less, chances are there are stacks of paper that could be recycled. While reusable water bottles are the BEST option, any plastic water bottles should be recycled as well.
9) Simplify cleaning supplies
White Vinegar and baking soda are all natural alternatives to dangerous chemical cleaners. They are versatile, effective, and eliminate plastic bottle waste.
10) Make your own cosmetics
Save money, avoid harsh chemicals, plastic containers, and packaging by making your own cosmetics. Check out Free People’s blog for instructions on how to make your own natural cheek and lip stains, perfume, shampoo, make-up remover, and more. Also be sure to check out OGP’s very own DIY beauty guides right here.
Syrian Metal Is War will be screened at the 30th edition of Wacken Open Air on July 31 at 09:00pm and August 3 at 08:30pm.
It’s a documentary about how the heavy metal is staying alive in Syria, despite the war.
I just have to say that my Middle Eastern metal head friends are some of the bravest metal heads I know. Keep on head banging, guys, and never stop.
“Prior to the war, Syrian metal musicians faced jail time and persecution for “satanism.” During the war, they face new challenges, roadtripping along dangerous highways and dodging snipers to make it to shows at the one remaining café in Aleppo where live metal music still lives. They try to record amid the rumble of bombs and regular power outages. “The symphony of Aleppo,” one musician tells the camera, “is generators and bullets.” – Reason.com
Genre: Melodic Death Metal (though this particular song is more heavy metal in my opinion)
Themes: Vikings, Norse mythology
Two weeks ago Amon Amarth released their new music video for “Mjolner, Hammer of Thor,” from their new Berserker album.
Of all the Amon Amarth stuff I’ve heard, this is their most different sounding content yet. It sounds more heavy metal than their stuff in the past. Though I’m not sure if I’m a fan, because in my opinion, I like it when a band retains something of their signature sound, while changing it up in various ways. Behemoth, for example, does a great job of that. The Satanist was very different, but if you listened to it, you could definitely tell that it was Behemoth.
With this song, and some of the other songs I’ve listened to from Berserker, I wouldn’t be able to tell it was Amon Amarth (if not for the vocals). And this particular song sounded too much like a generic heavy metal song, of which there are already plenty.
My suggestion to Amon Amarth for their next album is to get back to their signature sound, what makes them them, what makes them unique, and find new ways to evolve that sound, rather than turning into a different band entirely.
As someone who was a huge fan of Game of Thrones for the nine years it was on television, I joined the rest of the television watching world by being incredibly disappointed and feeling betrayed by the rushed and thoughtless ending provided by the shows writers. It’s very clearly they were eager to just be done with the matter and go off to work on the new Star Wars trilogy, which I will not be watching because of this disaster.
People keep saying, “Oh, well they didn’t have time to make a good ending because they only had six episodes.” First of all, HBO would have given them as many episodes as they wanted.
But anyways, in the video above, the YouTube personality Overlord DVD, very eloquently describes how he would have written the last few episodes of Game of Thrones.
It’s so good. And if fulfills the prophesies of the story.
Even though there is a petition with over a million signatures to remake the ending of Game of Thrones, I doubt it will happen, because hundreds of millions of dollars would be needed for the purpose, and already the actors are going on to do other things.
I think it would be very possible for someone to animate the ending described in the video above. And if disappointed fans can’t have a remake, they could at least have an animation that fulfills that purpose.