I was blessed with a bad cold on a beautiful holiday weekend.
Instead of hiking or yard work, I’m laid up on the couch, slurping chicken soup and lemon tea. But this is a blessing, I tell you, because I binge-watched The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
There are so many takeaways from this spectacular series…far too many for a single blog post. The biggest ones, for me, involved tools of resistance we Earthlings can utilize in our own age of resistance.
The evil Skeksis hold all the power in the world. They are not of Thra, the world where the story is set, but they have managed to control it for generations. They created divisions between the Gelflings, an indigenous race of Thra, making them believe they are their protectors when they are actually harvesting them to maintain their immortality. The Darkening is coming, a sickness which will destroy Thra.
Related content by Mat Auryn: The Mysticism, Spirituality, and Occultism of The Dark Crystal.
and The Magick and Psychism in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Colonization, capitalism, and oligarchy are deep themes of the Skeksis’ characters. The Darkening easily represents climate change, and the Gelflings represent common people who are both victims and enablers of the deleterious situation.
Sound familiar? We’re basically LIVING The Dark Crystal, y’all! (Except most of us don’t have wings…)
The Dark Crystal may be fantasy, but the tools of resistance within it are tools we too can use in our own resistance. See below!
Choose Personal Connection
The Gelflings use Dreamfasting to share memories and uncover truth. While we may not be able to see memories when we touch hands (super-psychics excluded), we can listen to those who have been directly disaffected by power structures. Listen to the stories of those who have lost their homes due to climate change, gentrification, and more. Pay attention to those directly harmed by racist structures. Give these stories more weight in your mind than the press releases by those in power.
Watch Nature For Signs
Deet spent her time in Grot scavenging moss to feed her Nuriocs, but one day the moss became poisonous and made her Nuriocs insane. Instead of accepting it as “a natural cycle of Thra” (in the way climate change deniers say we’re experiencing a “natural cycle of the earth”), she sought an answer. Likewise, we can pay attention to what’s happening to our water and land. Take note of the condition of nature around you. Are local streams no longer producing tadpoles or fish? Start asking who is dumping what in the water. When you find out, work to hold them accountable.
Stay Informed In An Age Of Disinformation
Brea, who spends her free time in libraries poring over texts, is told by a Skeksis that knowledge will make her ugly. She ignores that advice. Anti-intellectualism is super-popular at the moment. Many in power seek to rip funding away from educational programs, particularly those directed at children from families with lower incomes. Whether or not these budget cuts become a reality, resistance involves staying educated. Finish your degree. If you can’t go to school, read-read-read. Read to children. Volunteer at local schools. Knowledge may not always equal power, but ignorance is a tool of oppression.
See How Others Live
Deet goes above ground to find answers about the poisoned moss and in doing so, learns how many others live. Traveling is a great way to see how different cultures have been affected by or respond to power. If you can’t travel, read blogs and books by others who live in bodies and/or cultures that are different from yours. Just like Deet put on a blindfold to help her see a different world, use what is at your fingertips to see the world through different eyes.
Sacrifice Privilege And Identity
Rian shed his guard clothing and buried it in an impromptu funeral. “We protect the Lords, they protect the Crystal. All lies.” Ask yourself if you’re aligned with the wrong side. Even if it seems that alliance makes up your identity, take the brave step of shedding it. Rian did it. And Rian was still Rian!
Speak Up To Cruelty
Deet wanted a bit of drink and the Gelflings were mean to her for being foreign. They verbally and physically abused her. Her friend Hup wouldn’t have it. Let’s all be like Hup. If we hear or see someone being treated cruelly for being different, let’s throw some fits. No one deserves that.
Get Out In Nature
Aughra woke from her long slumber to find that the Darkening was moving in on the land and the Skeksis had corrupted the Crystal she had given them. She was frustrated in knowing what to do, so she sought the Sanctuary tree. It was there she was directed to seek the answers from Thra. When I came home from a visit to a fracking site, I grieved. The only place I could take my sadness was the park, where I could be around trees. I don’t remember the messages I got, but I know I didn’t stop fighting for the causes I support. Even when we don’t get the answer we seek, the nature time might be the re-set we need to carry on.
Take Control Of Methods Of Control
The little spider creatures jump on Gelfling faces and control them, making them want to be part of “The Ascendency.” To me, these critters reminded me of Russian bots that thwart elections by spreading LITERAL fake news about pizza parlors and uranium sales (aka, social media). However, some of the characters take control of the critters and use them to spread actual truth about the Skeksis. Social media may be a great medium for disinformation, but it can also be used to share truth. What is the new saying? “The information will not be televised…but it will be on Twitter”? It’s close enough, anyway….
Join With The Opposition (To A Point…)
The Gelflings fought with these creepy Arachnid characters. It seemed they were yet another enemy, when they realized they could actually work together. Now, you won’t see me forging an alliance with a Proud Boy any more than you’ll see Rian or Brea working with The Emperor. However, if I were working on getting corporate money out of politics and I, a vehement anti-fracker, had to sit down and work with someone who was pro-fracking but also believed money needed to get out of politics, I might need to set my fracking views aside for this specific battle. There will always be time to work on fracking, later.
Stop Seeing Disaster. Start Seeing New Life
When Brea sought out Elder Cadia for information about the symbol she saw, he tried to erase her memory. Onica knocks him out and explains, “When he sees the symbol, he sees the end. But I see a chance for a new life.” Even if we were to stop all carbon emissions today, we would still lose many species and coastlines in the coming decades. Uncontrolled capitalism is unsustainable and will eventually collapse. There will be elements of disaster in our future, but there is also the chance to start anew. Knowing this will fuel us with the hope we need to persevere.
I haven’t seen the final episode…
…but I’m sure there are other tools to uncover. My husband and I are saving it for our dinnertime viewing. Now, back to my chicken soup, lemon tea, and plans for smashing the system.