I feel like I’ve been waiting so long for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. I was hoping it would be as good as the original movie in the ’80s and honestly, I feel it’s so much better. Jim Henson would be so insanely proud of what his daughter (Lisa Henson) and the Frouds (now including Toby Froud, yes the baby in Labyrinth) have done with this show.
While this is obviously a work of fiction, and like all fiction magick (yes, with a “k”) and psychism are heavily exaggerated, there are a still a ton of parallels that I see between Age of Resistance and what we do as witches. I won’t be repeating the things I touched upon in my original article exploring the movie entitled The Mysticism, Spirituality & Occultism of The Dark Crystal and encourage you to read that as well if you haven’t already. I also have touched upon a lot of these topics either on this blog or in my book Psychic Witch. In fact, most of these concepts are explored in depth in my book. As such, I’m just going to quote what I wrote there for the sake of ease since there’s a lot to cover in these articles.
Some of this information is not purely in the show either, but rather in the novels by JM Lee which were a huge influence upon and brought on as a consultant for the series and which I highly recommend reading if you liked the show (it’s still an entirely different adventure that sort of syncs up with the show).
The show is also heavily political, as you would guess from it’s name. I have only touched on the politics in one place, but I highly recommend reading the piece fellow author and Patheos Pagan blogger Courtney Weber wrote entitled Tools of Resistance in “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance”
As I wrote in the last article on the Dark Crystal, these themes may be consciously embedded or they could simply be coincidences of being inspired by ideas within the Collective Unconscious. While the original Dark Crystal Movie seemed to have more Mystical, Occult, and Spiritual themes, The Age of Resistance has more magickal, psychic, and political themes. Here are some of the main psychic and magickal ideas that I saw in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. I’m sure there’s a bunch more that I missed as well as there’s just so much in this masterpiece of a show.
**SPOILER ALERT: THIS WHOLE ARTICLE IS A HUGE SPOILER, INCLUDING THINGS THAT OCCUR AT THE VERY END OF THE SHOW**
The Seven Clans as The Seven Planetary Powers
The first thing I noticed was that the seven gelfling clans seem to represent the seven planetary powers. The original notion of the seven planets in original astrology and alchemy included the sun and the moon, and are the seven main celestial energies that witches and magickians work with today. While the seven clans seem to represent the seven classical planets, Aughra embodies the energy of Earth as explained in my previous article on the movie.
GROTTAN CLAN – MOON
The Grottan are underground dwelling people who never see the light of the suns of Thra or the sky. Deet, the main character in Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance shows the most psychic ability and later magickal ability – both very lunar traits. The underworld and caves are also considered very lunar places.
SPRITON CLAN – SUN
This one is a bit more obvious in the novels of JM Lee which this series is roughly based upon. In the novels Kylan is one of the main characters, and makes minor appearances later in the show. Kylan is of the Spriton Clan of gelflings. Kylan is a storyteller, bard, and musician – all of which are considered Solar qualities.
SIFA – MERCURY
The librarian gelfling takes Brea to go see the Sifa elder Cadia. The first thing he says is that he is a soothsayer. Elder Cadia tries to trick Brea into drinking a potion that will erase her memory before he gives her the information she seeks. The novels by JM Lee describe the Sifa as sea-faring traveling merchants. Soothsaying/Divination, trickery, memory, information, traveling, and merchants are all considered Mercurial qualities.
DRENCHEN – VENUS
This one was the hardest one for me to place, but I was after a bit of thinking upon it. To understand this, we need to go back to JM Lee’s novels which center around Naia, the Drenchen as the main character, whom also makes an appearance later in the Netflix series. In the novels, the Grottan clan are never depicted as having greenish skin, but the Drenchen are described as having green skin and this is also depicted in the show series. Green is the color of Venus in magickal correspondences. The Drenchen Maudra is known for her healing powers, and it’s a power that’s passed down to her daughter Naia. Healing is in the realm of Venus. Lastly, the Drenchen live in the swamplands of Sog. Swamps are also considered Venusian.
STONEWOOD – MARS
The Stonewood clans are the warriors of the gelflings. Most of the Skeksis palace guards are also from the Stonewood Clan. Military and war are the domain of Mars, like the Greek god from which the planetary energy is named.
VAPRA – JUPITER
The Vapra are held as the highest political clan. The Maudra of the Vapra is the All-Maudra, the Queen of Queens. The Vapra storylines in the show deal with politics, power, tradition, and authority all of which are Jupiterian qualities.
DOUSAN – SATURN
Lastly, there’s the desert dwelling Dousan. The most that is said about the Dousan are that they are death obsessed and make other gelflings a bit uneasy. The novels describe them as being “shrouded in mystery” – which is a very Saturnine phrase. Death, deserts, and endings are all in the realm of Saturn.
Dreamfasting was introduced in the original Dark Crystal movie and is one of the many magickal and psychic abilities that the gelflings possessed. The process of recieving or relaying information through touch is called psychometry. Psychometry and all other psychic abilities are discussed and shown how to perform at length in my book Psychic Witch.
The first glimpse we see of Aughra she’s in her orrery. She lays motionless while the model of the celestial heavens above her spin around. When Aughra awakens one of the first thing she does is she explains to the podling what she’s been doing. She says, “Ugh, sending my mind, projecting awareness through the stars is no easy feat, not even for Aughra.” This is astral projection, especially since there’s an emphasis on the stars. The astral body of a person is able to detach from the other auric bodies and travel.
“The astral realm is where we experience and process information in a broader, more unconscious manner, transcending conscious thought. This layer of reality is thought to be the layer of reality in which we experience astrological influences, which affect our moods and interactions without ever being consciously processed. It was believed that the astral realm was composed of different energies of planetary and zodiacal influences that enacted their will upon people, and that the astral was the space between the higher realm of the gods and humans. These stellar influences were called “the celestial spheres” by the ancient Platonists. This is why it is called “astral,” which derives from the Latin astrum, meaning “star,” as it is referring to the heavenly influence of astrology. As such, it is also where we experience other spaces of reality as a place to interact with.”
– Mat Auryn
Psychic Witch: A Metaphysical Guide To Meditation, Magick, and Manifestation
The Personal Book of Shadows
This one is one of the more obvious and quick ones. When we first meet Brea, she’s copying down information from a Grimoire by hand and making notes in her own journal. All witches should be able to identify this immediately as being similar to the personal Book of Shadows, which is traditionally written in one’s own hand. This journal helps her to solve the stone riddle under her mother’s throne later on.
Dreametching is another gelfling ability, and how it’s presented in the show is different than the novels. In the novels only few possess this ability and it’s done consciously not as something that just manifests. This is identical to imprinting and programming an object with magickal and psychic instructions. This is another technique that I teach in Psychic Witch.
Connecting With Plant Spirits
In the show Deet is informed by connecting with the Sanctuary Tree spirit who provides visions. Witches work with plants both through communion, and through using plant parts. Often the plant spirits provide great wisdom and visions, sometimes through psychic means and other times through entheogenic means.
“I think the more you practice Witchcraft and the more you immerse yourself in the green world, the more potential allies and familiars you can have, as there is an interconnectivity in both nature and the spirit world that most human tend to ignore or forget.”
– Christopher Penczak
Christopher Penczak On The Spiritual Bond Of Plants And Witches
Lore, Servitor Spirits, and Golem
The created stone servitor and protector Lore, is almost identical to ideas of golems. Golems come from Jewish lore, and are created beings (usually made from clay or mud) that act as a sort of helper and defender for the rabbi who creates them and gives them life.
“According to Czech legend, the Golem was fashioned from clay and brought to life by a rabbi to protect Prague’s 16th-century ghetto from persecution, and is said to be called forth in times of crisis.”
– The New York Times: Hard Times Give New Life to Prague’s Golem
That parallels completely with Lore in the The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
The main plot is about the Skeksis draining the gelflings of their vital life force energy, or essence. This process is known as psychic vampirism. While psychic vampirism has gotten a super bad reputation in the occult and metaphysical community, and mostly for good reasons – most psychic vampirism is unconscious, so no consent is sought or given, rightly framing the taking of energy as an attack.
Occult and Psychic Vampire expert Michelle Belanger seems to likens the psychic vampire in an energetic manner that would be equivalent to those who are lactose intolerant. Psychic Vampires are wired differently, often naturally, and require energy sources due to being unable to process other life force energies in the natural manner that others do. Belanger has pioneered techniques and established community to consciously, safely, and ethically feed as a psychic vampire. The type of vampirism that the Skeksis are doing is the reverse, they are consciously vamping the gelflings of their energy without any care or concern about who it harms.
“While some psychic vampires can supplement their feeding by drawing upon nonhuman sources, it has been my experience that the main focus of their need is human vital energy. This is one of the main reasons that the self-defense literature abounds. If psychic vampires were taking energy from nonhuman sources such as the earth, animals, or trees, how many people would care or even notice? But psychic vampires naturally target other human beings because they resonate with and that is the energy that most sustains them. Thus, the psychic vampire is defined as any person who must actively and regularly take in human vital energy in order to maintain their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.”
– Michelle Belanger
The Psychic Vampire Codex: A Manual of Magick and Energy Work
The Astral Temple
Aughra sets up a space in the “Dream Space” which mirrors the Crystal Chamber ritual room. There she gathers various gelflings to come together to learn and share information. Most witchcraft traditions that I’ve trained in have an astral temple and I’m sure countless traditions and covens that I haven’t been a part of do as well. In the Dream Space set up by Aughra in the movie, the crystal itself serves as the typical astral temple altar.
“ASTRAL TEMPLE is a magical realm created through techniques that incorporate meditation, visualization, and energy direction. An astral temple becomes a place between worlds where one is no longer limited by the constrains of mundane reality. The astral temple is much like a dream experience in which one has complete control and can create the dream according to personal will. The imagination is employed to visualize how the temple appears, and the personal will is used to fix it in place.
It is common for the astral temple to contain portals or doorways associated with the four quarters and the four elements. Through these entrances magical power can be directly passed into the astral plane. Typically an altar will be set in the center of the temple, and various symbols or icons appear in the temple setting as desired by the creator. Once established, the Wiccan/Witch can perform rituals there or cast spells, work magick, etc.”
– Raven Grimassi
Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft
The Witch Eye
Aughra has a third eye. Depending on your witchcraft tradition there may be different names for this. Some call it a Third Eye, or Mind’s Eye. It’s the faculty related to the pineal gland from which the witch receives and projects visualizations through the different realms of reality. I personally use the term Witch Eye, which is the term for it in various forms of Trad. Craft, and that stylistic choice carries into Psychic Witch.
When Aughra is in The Dream Space, we see that her Witch Eye is fully glowing, because that’s the mechanism from which she’s truly perceiving this realm in while her body is still outside beneath the tree. We see this eye light up only once more, when she pops out of The Hunter Skeksis – which soon fades as she adjusts to the physical realm of Thra, which signifies that she must have been in the Dreaming or a related realm while dead.
The Heretic As Wisdom Keeper
One of my favorite new characters was SkekGra The Heretic (formerly SkekGra the Conquerer). SkekGra became the Heretic after he received a vision and realized the Skeksis were wrong. He urged the other Skeksis to reunite with their Uru (Mystic) counterparts and as such was branded The Heretic. From there he met up with his other half urGoh the Wanderer to go live in the Circle of the Suns in the desert.
The Heretic is so blasphemous to Skeksis ways, that he even dresses and presents himself as if he is a Mystic, while urGoh seems to have skin the shade of a Skesis. SkekGra had visions and personal gnosis which contradicted the established religious ideologies of the Skeksis, yet he was right. As such, he and UrGoh are the only two in Thra who hold not only the truth, but also the wisdom of what to do with it. The witch is no stranger to the concept of heresy.
Puppetry as a Meta-Reference
One of my absolute favorite scenes was when the Heretic and the Wanderer put on a puppet show for the gelflings to explain the spiritual truths of what had occurred. This is a huge intertextual meta-reference, which is when a form of media is referencing itself through that media being portrayed in the story. For example, this is a show using puppets which we’re supposed to forget are puppets, and here the puppets have puppets. For me, this scene is trying to say that though it’s just puppets, there’s some deep spiritual truths and concepts through it and (more specifically), the original Dark Crystal – that it’s all an allegory.
The Three Souls
At the opening of the puppet show, the Heretic and the Wandering explain that they were once a singular luminous being of one body, one will, one mind. This idea is paralleled in witchcraft as the concept of the Three Souls: The Higher Self, Middle Self, and Lower Self. The body is related to the Lower Self, the Higher Will is related to the Higher Self, and the mind is related to the Middle Self.
“These three souls are sometimes referred to in witchcraft as the “Three Souls,” “Three Minds,” “Three Selves,” or “Three Walkers,” though the division of the soul into three parts spans various other religious, shamanic, and spiritual traditions around the world. These three souls are considered to be the first aspects of our multidimensional biology and understanding them is beneficial for both magick and psychic ability. The primary influence in this ideology seems to come from the Faery (or Feri) Traditions of Witchcraft, which adopted it from Huna. The first time these were publicly written about within witchcraft was in Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance, Starhawk herself being a former student of Victor Anderson’s Feri Tradition. ”
– Mat Auryn
Psychic Witch: A Metaphysical Guide To Meditation, Magick, and Meditation
Another concept which we will touch on in a bit is the idea of Soul-Alignment and the idea of Witch Fire. This idea parallels to the idea of the Heretic saying that when they were of one mind, one body, and one will that they were luminous beings. I go into great detail on all of these subjects in my book and how each soul can be used individually and together for different types of psychic and magickal experiences.
“Witch” As A Political Slur
Witchcraft and the label of “witch” as a slur has a long political history. This appears in the scene where Seladon decides that her politics are more important than any sense of truth. Instead of referring to Aughra as Mother Aughra, she suddenly starts referring to Aughra as a witch, used as a slur. I’ve already written exensively about this in two articles: Witchcraft Has Always Been Political and Calling Yourself A Witch Is “Identity Politics”, so I’ll just quote what I wrote before.
“There are very few identities that one can proclaim for themselves that would be more politically charged than that of “witch.” The term “witch” didn’t come out of a vacuum. It has a long history associated with it – an extensive political history based around the concepts of identity.
First off, the title of “witch” was originally an accusation, not something that you took upon yourself. Being accused of being a witch was highly political as you’d be tortured and killed for it. Those accusations were predominantly against women. We know from the Salem Witch Trials as well as the Inquisitions that it was mostly women whose identities didn’t conform to society’s standards and their fear of women. Perhaps the woman had too much money, too much power, or too much land – all without a man.
Perhaps she didn’t marry or have children. Perhaps she was too sexually attractive or too sexually unappealing. Witches are inherently feminist, a witch doesn’t give a flying fuck what society wants from her. The archetype of the witch revels in her freedom, her power, and her desires without the permission of men, church, or government. She is completely self-possessed.”
– Mat Auryn
Calling Yourself A Witch Is “Identity Politics”
For more of the political themes in this show, I again encourage you to read Courtney Weber’s article, Tools of Resistance in “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.”
Initiation & Attunement
This one should be super familiar for any witch in any formal tradition, or those who practice Reiki and have had Reiki attunements. During initiations and attunements an energy current with powers are passed down to the initiate. Not all initiations are formal or person-to-person. History is full of initiations from spirit to human. In The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Deet is passed on the power of the Sanctuary Tree as an initiation and attunement, right before the tree dies.
So, one of the main differences between the movie and novels by JM Lee, is the blue fire. In the novels the gelfling’s life essence is referred to vliya, which translates in gelfling as “blue fire.” All of the mystical and magickal arts are referred to as vliyaya, which means “flame of the blue fire.” It’s interesting to note that their magick comes from their essence (or soul) and is the color blue. Though this isn’t how the magick is portrayed in the Netflix series, there still is that same blue flame near the end and it is the exact same shade as the Witch’s Fire. The idea of the Witch Fire comes from certain strains of Trad. Craft and the Faery/Feri Traditions of Witchcraft.
“When our three souls are aligned a phenomenon occurs called the Witch Fire. The Witch Fire is the energetic elixir of all three of the souls functioning as one unified energy. When we align our three souls, we step into our divinity and our full potential. The Witch Fire is often experienced as an ecstatic state of gnosis, power, and divine love felt as Agape…
The Witch Fire is also known as the Witch’s Fire, Witch Flame, the Threefold Flame, and even sometimes as the Fire of the Holy Spirit. The Witch Fire is seen as electric blue and has a consistency to it that seems a bit like fire, a bit like electricity, while also moving in a fluid-like way. It permeates through the witch and around her. The Witch Fire is the power of creation itself; it’s a sample of you in a deified state while being alive, the power of Spirit’s Will running through you for your use in co-creating reality through magick.”
– Mat Auryn
Psychic Witch: A Metaphysical Guide To Meditation, Magick, and Manifestation
Aughra As Savioress
As I wrote before in my previous Dark Crystal article. Aughra parallels the Anima Mundi:
“The Anima Mundi is a concept of the world soul which was embraced by Plato and many Neo-Platonists. It’s the idea of a singular interconnection of all beings that has a self-awareness and intelligence and contains within it every physical aspect of the planet.”
– Mat Auryn
The Mysticism, Spirituality & Occultism of The Dark Crystal
Neo-Platonists referred to the Anima Mundi as Hekate Soteira as she’s presented in the Chaldean Oracles. Soteira is an epithet which means “saviouress.” It’s interesting to note that Hekate was later “vilified” in history by being presented as a crone, an image that many Wiccans have reclaimed, while other pagans and witches dismiss it as offensive. But it’s interesting because Aughra too is a crone.
Here Aughra takes on the archetype of saviouress a bit further, sacrificing herself to save the gelflings about to be drained and later raises from the dead. (Yes, this sounds a lot like Jesus Christ, but also a myriad of other deities throughout history). While dead, she seems to somehow allow The Archer mystic to see through the eyes of his Skeksis counterpart The Hunter. During this time the Mystic is somehow convinced that the Skeksis must be stopped and as such sacrifices himself after seeing what his counterpart is doing. The Archer in turn sacrifices himself and thus kills The Hunter right before The Hunter kills Rian. The Hunter crumbles to dust before the Skeksis, solidifying to them that they are indeed not immortal as they wish to pretend. Aughra appears out of the dust of the Skeksis remains reborn.
Taking On Heavy Energies
The Sanctuary Tree had been trying to ground the energy of the darkening as much as he could before dying. This is interesting because most of us who ground use tree imagery to energetically ground our own energy. Grounding put simply, is allowing heavy energies to flow through you so that you don’t fry yourself magickally. Though it seems that the Sanctuary Tree isn’t fully grounding the energy but rather absorbing it. When the Sanctuary Tree passes on this power to Deet, he says that he’s unsure if it’s a blessing or a curse. Deet in turn is able to absorb the energy, which as we see in the very end magickally fries her.
The idea of taking on heavy energies from others and trying to process it is usually referred to as “Eating Heavy Energies” and is an advanced technique which helps to process and transmute heavy energies by energetically digesting them. Often this is done to remove that energy from another person, object or place. A similar idea is the old custom of “Sin-Eating”
Reversal magick is exactly what it sounds like, it’s using the energy of a curse or hex that’s been sent to you and returning that energy back to the sender – nothing less, nothing more. Deet does this in the end after taking on the Darkening energy that the Emperor tries to use to attack the gelflings.
“There can be times, however, when the normal defenses do not hold and a more active position will need to be assumed to insure the well-being of you and your loved ones. Thus far we have dealt only with strictly pacifying, protective, and preventative measures. Under the majority of circumstances, these will be all that is needed. Unfortunately, in some cases, an obsessive enemy will show no sign of stopping his or her harassment, and you will need to resort to more heavy-handed methods to insure a successful defense. For this reason, it is important to master the techinques of reversal and counter-magick.”
– Jason Miller
Protection & Reversal Magick: A Witch’s Defense Manual