February 27, 2011 11 Comments
Much like Labyrinth, Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal is one of those kid’s films all of us who grew up in the 80s seem to have a strange affinity for. And, much like Labyrinth, it is chock full of Henson’s same occult proclivities. While Labyrinth, in my analysis, constituted the inner journey into Sarah’s psyche (much like Inception is an inner journey into Cobb’s labyrinthine psyche), Dark Crystal is more of an exterior journey.
We are told in the beginning the setting is a long gone “age of wonder” on another world where time comes and goes in thousand-year cycles, or aeons. Such terminology may be said to be of another world, but as the symbolism necessarily goes, such films (and all stories in general) function as statements relative to the human story. Thus, the two great races that arise in the age of the Dark Crystal are symbolic of two kinds of people (passive and aggressive/followers and elites), which is itself a manifestation of the film’s obsession with duality. Indeed, the film follows perfectly in a long train of gnostic nostalgia, elsewhere reviewed by me.
The notion of a 1,000 year cycle is also a Hindu theme, similar to the theory of Kali Yuga, where we are currently entering an age of dominance of chaos, the demonic, strife and dischord. This is also similar to the notion espoused by other occultists that this is the aeon of the child, etc. Occultist Madame Blavatsky also formulated bizarre theories of numerous other races and worlds that preceded our own, as well as the Babylonian Talmud mentioning such ideas. It becomes evident that Henson, like Lucas, borrowed heavily from the mythology of various cultures in creating these fantasies.
The eastern dualist conceptions are marked in the film, as mentioned. The Skekses represent the left hand path of severity and cruelty, control and empire, while the “gentle mystics” are supposed to represent the “gentle ways of natural wizards.” The Skekses, then, are harbingers of technology and power – they harness the Dark Crystal for the purpose of advanced control mechanisms and even brainwashing (yes, brainwashing), while the mystics are purported to be in tune with nature and the forest. The Mystics, as is worth noting, chant the Buddhist “Om,” further reinforcing the eastern dualist religious conceptions, while the Skekses are busy enacting the “Ceremony of the Sun” for the passing of the Emperor, which brings to mind ancient Egyptian theology, and it’s identification of Pharoah as son of Ra. Read more of this post