This movie by Robert Eggers (2015) is one of – if not – my favorite one that I’ve watched so far this year. Why I liked this movie is because it presents in a very simplistic set-up how the real horrors and ‘problems’ – or things we don’t understand – and paranoia are first and foremost created in the human mind. The ‘stars’ of the movie are the emotions taken to the level of what we call mind possession and psychosis that leads to essentially the death of an entire family. Here I understand that there’s a whole different level in which the movie can be ‘read’ as well in terms of the symbols, Satanism, the time in which the history is set up which is in the 17th century of puritans from the UK arriving to New England in America and the beliefs around witches as well, but here I’d like to focus more on observing the human mind and its influence on physical reality.
I recently listened to the audio ‘The Dark Mind’ in The Future of Consciousness series on Eqafe and this is a point that was mentioned: to realize the consequence that the mind can create on something that is real in this world, such as destroying relationships. And this is a seemingly simple statement, but it defines so much of what we’ve made of ourselves and what we’ve imposed onto this world based on our emotions, feelings, judgments, fears, opinions, beliefs and all of that combined becoming the decisive factor to do what we do or become what we become.
I can start with the role of the father of the family and how it was through his own pride and arrogance that he decides to leave the community that he was living in with his family – the seven of them – and so ‘find his own way through’. It is with this decision that embark into a whole new space in the woods where food cannot really be grown, they have a hard time surviving and so that whole experience of lack starts leading the kids to dream of what it would be like to ‘live deliciously’ again, lol, how it was when they were in England and all the lifestyle they had and left behind, how they ran away to New England to not be prosecuted and continue prophesying a religion, which in itself is like going through their own ‘witch hunt’, very similar to what’s happening now with the world-paranoia on Muslims too, to name but one example.
So the religious factor is a key element here, and an example that can extend to any form of ‘self religion’ as a set of beliefs that blind us from reality, creating all kinds of experiences like paranoia, fear, blame, guilt, hope, leading to the ultimate self-destruction and desperation in the characters of the movie upon seeing what is happening to them – starting off with their baby being robbed by the witch – and realizing that no matter how much they pray or hope that food grows, nothing and no one is coming to save them. This is something all of us can relate to when finally realizing that this world, our lives are our creation and they are entirely in our hands and there’s really no one coming to save us or said in another more straightforward way: there’s nothing to abdicate our responsibility to.
To me it’s still quite unbelievable to what extent people can STILL believe there is some force or god or saint ‘guiding their lives’ or ‘healing them’ and not being aware of at all how their lives are entirely the product of one’s own thoughts, words, deeds and so of our collective environment we all individually and collectively co-create. But! I once was there in that kind of mentality and it does take a process – time and practical application – to debunk these religious constructs within oneself to finally grasp to what extent we have created our own fairy tales like gods and guides and spirits looking after us just because we didn’t want to take absolute responsibility for ourselves, for our own creation and recognize ourselves as the creators of it all.
– Paranoia in the elemental unit of society: the family
A fascinating element is the paranoia that is created around the role of ‘the witch’ which I’d like to place it here as an archetype – more than the mythical role – that we’ve created as human beings to dissociate ourselves from any evil, from any bad and nasty ways of being and we instead have created these figures like ‘the devil’ or ‘the witches’ and ‘the demons’ because we are not willing to face these points within ourselves and our lives, and acknowledge it as part of our human nature, an aspect that comprises ‘who we are’ that we’ve mostly suppressed and hidden because we fear looking at it and realizing what really exists within ourselves. I consider that this is marvelously represented in this movie where you see these very pious and ‘well behaved’ individuals, very devoted, yet once that the emotional mind possession kicks in for various reasons in all of them, they lose ground and end up dead and killing each other as a result of it. Lol, I know this may sound harsh but after all this is meant to be a ‘horror’ movie and I would say it is psychological horror as in the horrors that we can create in our minds and impose onto physical reality causing such disgrace.
I actually see this movie not so much as a ‘look into the past’ – even though cinematographically its accuracy and representation can perfectly transport us to the 1600’s – but also as a representation of that same ‘human mind’ that hasn’t really evolved or changed for the better throughout time, it hasn’t evolved to become a tool with which we can become ‘better human beings,’ not yet, because it won’t happen by itself obviously, we have to actively do this change. If anything the state of our minds and so the world has gotten worse and in this very neat example of the outcomes with this puritan family in the 1600’s stands even as a prophecy of what can STILL happen if we keep placing our lives in the hands of our minds, our emotions, our fears and desires, waiting for some god or guide or light or universe or whatever to help out instead of taking responsibility for our own emotions, our own experiences, our own deepest and darkest secrets and desires that can ‘erupt’ in a very, very consequential manner if we don’t deal with them effectively, and only suppress them.
Part of what we see with very pious people is that there’s a hell of suppressed thoughts, feelings, emotions, essentially energy that is hidden at the back of our minds, that we don’t even want to see, face or recognize as our own because we judge it and because in religion one is constantly hoping for, praying for and venerating all that is ‘good’, yet when ‘the shit hits the fan’ in our reality of course all of that positive thinking won’t do a thing because what we need to do is to Understand and realize HOW we created ‘the problem’ and how we are co-creators of that situation, instead of standing as seemingly victimized ‘pawns of god’ that were suddenly punished by the invisible hand.
So if anything this movie can be taken to our current context to ask ourselves how much are we still delegating our responsibility in our lives, in our experiences, in how we deal with our consequences or ‘unfortunate’ events, where is one still blaming others – the devil, a witch, a god, a black goat – lol – or your partner, the government, your neighbor, your parents, a politician? Lol – and so instead learn how to ‘take the bull by the horns’ in our lives and realize that suppressing these emotions, these ‘problems’, hiding them and keeping a face of ‘everything is fine’ is only a time-bomb waiting to explode.
As we can see in the movie, all the tension is built in such a multi-dimensional/multi-faceted manner, that the idea of the witch is only but one ‘cherry on the cake’ to make it a psychological thriller if you will, based on the epoch it was situated in and so forth. But this is actually about the suppressed fears, pride, anguish, blame, survivalism, sexual desires n and the rest of points that one would have to actively be aware of, actively be opening up and directing in our lives because if hidden, suppressed and not dealt with = they can become our ‘worst nightmare’ as it is actually represented in the movie, where it is also quite symbolic to see that this seemingly ‘well together’ family starts falling apart and going into conflict with one another, yet suppressing it all until it becomes so much, this unstoppable ‘energy force’ that leads to fatal outcomes. Of course here relating to the actual energy that we create in our minds that then we listen to as thoughts in our heads and eventually act upon it based on this ‘overwhelming’ experience, where we essentially lose ourselves to the mind, and that’s where one becomes possessed and I guarantee that each one of us have experienced this same thing one way or another.
An example is how upon seeing the outcome with the baby being stolen and Caleb – the son – being possessed, there’s a hidden blame toward the father that led the family out of the community, there’s a blame toward Thomasin – the daughter – for not being aware when the baby was stolen by ‘the witch’ and the resentment that exists in Thomasin when she finds out she’s going to be sold by her father in order to get the family some money; then there’s the wife/mother that is holding a grudge to the father for selling that silver cup to get some food, and in general the kids that started ‘praising the devil’ and becoming also possessed, which was represented in the form of being overtly playful which is something that also is attempted to be repressed based on the nature of their religion and ways as a family.
Caleb is also getting to have an awakening in his sexuality and eventually starts suppressing it, hiding it, not looking at it, only to entirely be tempted by it and ‘falling for it’ when it comes to being lured by the witch herself. The father fights his own inner demons trying to extricate himself through hard physical word, yet ends up having a fight with ‘the goat’ to the point of dying, because he ends up ‘losing it’ as in going mad within himself instead of understanding what he was facing and maybe placing his pride aside to go back to the community. “Corruption, thou are my father” were his last words due to – possibly – having to admit he lied or didn’t speak up to the wife about him having stolen the cup and instead allowing the daughter to be accused of stealing it and being a witch and ‘bringing a curse to the family’.
And then we have Thomasin who is like the perfect example of how we can create our ‘self-fulfilled prophecies’ when it comes to being called ‘the witch’ or having ‘made a deal with the devil’ which leads her to be placed into judgment by the entire family. We also see that she did feed the lies around it possibly, maybe due to boredom or a desire for some actual ‘super powers’ or a ‘better life’ or just to create an ‘alternate reality’ to avoid not facing the stark reality they were ‘trapped’ into. She ends up killing her mother as a way to defend herself which leaves her with no family members at all and so taking that last decision to ‘convert into a witch’ or ‘sign the deal with the devil’ also based on wanting to fulfill the desires that she had inside her. I remember something like this happening to me where based on a certain image others had of me and called me a particular manner, I actually ended becoming ‘that’ as well as a form of self-fulfilled prophecy where we trap each other with judgments, and if one is not ‘standing on one’s ground’ enough, one accepts such tag upon oneself to become it entirely, which is obviously one of the problems we create in our relationships with people as well as with ourselves.
The final part of the movie we get the whole infamous part where the goat/devil/Black Phillip asks ‘do you want to live deliciously?’ and presenting her with a series of desires and wants that she had probably been dreaming of and aspiring to get in her mind, yet not fully understanding what it would mean to ‘sign the deal’ and get all of that and at what expense, which is not shown in the movie and I agree it does end in a way that glorifies this notion of empowerment through becoming a witch in that sense, which is not my point here at all. We can instead see it nowadays with everyone that is made ‘rich and famous’ in music or entertainment industries and have to ‘sign the deal with the devil’ – literally in many ways – which involves sacrificing one’s life or other living beings to get a certain experience, any form of ‘high’ that is sustained in an artificial manner… but I won’t go into that story because it would be reaching other realms of realizing how ‘evil’ we all in fact are when only seeking our own personal interests at the expense of everyone and everything else, hence the recommendation to watch the movie to see an ‘extreme’ form of our human mind and how it is not such a far fetched situation, considering this kind of things happen every day if reading the local news and not so mainstream newspapers.
We might gasp and do ‘aaahs and ooohhs and eeewwws’ when we see the actual gruesome things that one human being can do to other living beings, but, we actually commit this sacrifice in our very own bodies every single day as well, every single time that we give directive control to our minds instead of learning to be self-honest and self directed, understand what self-restrain and self-control means when it comes to watching our thoughts, watching what kind of ‘desires’ we are fueling, what kind of experience are we ‘wishing upon’ toward oneself and others, that’s what we have to become self honest about: to face the grime within ourselves, to learn how to walk through it and so be able to live with ourselves, with our minds in a supportive and co-creative manner.
So as a conclusion on the final ‘conversion’ of Thomasin into a witch, I’d like to see it as a representation of how there’s always that potential in all of us to either decide or make the choice of what one wants in to live in one’s life and what one is willing to do to get it, regardless of it being ‘good or bad’ but rather identifying the practicality of such desires and wishes. So there was that potential in Thomasin from the beginning to ‘go to the dark side’ but not just in ‘her’ but in everyone else as it was demon-strated throughout the movie.
Every character faced their own possession and so their own outcomes based on it, which is what I find makes this movie so fascinating and a one-of-a-kind seemingly ‘simple’ story where we actually get to see precisely these consequences that we create upon physical reality based on what we accept and allow to go unquestioned, undirected and deliberately suppressed, hidden or buried in ourselves. And not realizing that this will ultimately ‘come back to the surface,’ and we rather be prepared how to face it or prevent it all by embracing, understanding and learning how to work through our ‘dark self, our dark mind’, learn how to effectively change and align that part that exists in all of us – no one is excluded – and so prevent real physical consequences that are and can be in ultimate sense irreversible as well.
We can be blinded by our own fears, beliefs and opinions instead of dealing with it as our own creation, to realize that the devils, the demons, the ‘dark’ and ‘evil’ is not an outside or external force, but it exists within us all. If we surrender to our minds and its demons and evil – as everything that stands as the reverse of live – and only seek a form of self-interest, we also are making that decision to give away our sovereignty, our self-governance and self-direction, ending up ‘sign that deal’ to give up all self-creation to that part of ourselves as the mind that we all know is not the best version of ourselves, the one part that is trapped seeking energetic experiences all the time, an ultimate ‘high’ of any kind, which is ultimately what the ‘real witch’ in the movie seems to do, to sacrifice a baby for some kind of experience of beauty or ‘super powers’ = same as what we tend to focus on creating with our feelings and emotions or energy in our minds.
We don’t realize that this ‘temptation’ is actually compromising ourselves, yet we ‘give in’ when we are presented with ‘the temptation’ and usually masked as something we enjoy, we desire, we want to ‘fulfill’ with ourselves, but we don’t look at what or how we are compromising ourselves to get it, and in an ultimate sense what do we want to honor in our lives: an experience, an appearance, a status? Or who we really are in our thoughts, words and deeds as living beings?
So something practical to remind ourselves as human beings is how we all agreed to be part of the human body and this reality based on the promise of ‘experiences’ of having this really ‘good time’ on Earth, and so ‘signing the contract’, agreeing to be in the body and in this life on Earth as a human, not really knowing what the hell we were getting ourselves into. And the same goes nowadays when we are lured by money, power, sex and pleasure, all the ‘seemingly good experiences’ and not really realizing if that’s where the real substance of life is, if that’s what we really want to make of ourselves and our lives. Just consider what Caleb could have prevented if he wasn’t lured by the seemingly astonishing appearance of the witch, only to later on realize the gruesome experience he was going to go through, which led him to his dead.
I consider it very timely to discuss and open up these points and ‘darker subjects’ in our process where these phases are opening up in Eqafe interviews – some I am listing below – and a practical thing to take on from the movie is to ask ourselves, what do we still fear facing or opening up within ourselves, what are we still giving too much ‘power’ and attention in our minds that we know it’s not beneficial for us, what are we still allowing to have as a form of temptation within us and not seeing it for the ‘energetic experience’ we are seeking, why we are desiring it or seeking it and learn to deliberately ‘take the spell away’ and see it ‘for what it is’ and apply self-direction, self-restrain and self-control to handle this….
I leave a link to the hangout/discussion we had on this movie as well and definitely suggest to check it out. It’s not your typical ‘horror movie’, it’s a really well made movie, a one of a kind that I haven’t seen in a long time, so, enjoy it and enjoy taking these points of the movie back to yourself.
Suggested Interviews, to prevent yourself from having your own ‘Witch’ experience in real life:
– The entire series of Demons in the Afterlife, for everyone fascinated and/or interested in the actuality of the demon world.