Embracing the Underworld

Posed on 02 March 2016

All the planets are named for gods. There are the Sun and Moon. And then, for about 4,000 years the line up consisted only of those planets visible to the human eye: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Then, with the invention of the telescope and resulting ability to view the most distant reaches of our solar system, Neptune, Uranus and finally, less than 100 years ago, Pluto, were added to the list. The star planet in today’s blog is Pluto. The dark god. Seriously scary. Ruler of the Underworld. But also, the only god sworn to tell the truth. Not only is it the astrological focus, but recently the energy that Pluto signifies has taken a leading role in literature, TV and movies. And it’s produced two new heartthrobs, of which more further on. The dark realms the god Pluto is said to rule – and its dangers – have been the subject of myth and drama for ages. This has been especially personified by tales of vampires, in which the battle has always been between the good guys – humans – and the perils of the underworld, that is, Dracula and his cousins of the undead. Once these were about having a good scare, complete with chills up your spine. It wasn’t just about vampires. Any horror movie about zombies, malicious aliens or swamp monsters would do. Go see a horror movie with your pals, then leave feeling much better, secure in the knowledge that was all fiction and the everyday world is a much safer place. Now, however, media informs us, relentlessly, that the world isn’t that safe after all. If nuclear warheads don’t cause enough anxiety, then the meltdown of both the icecaps and the economy should do the trick. But as we’ve learned more about the world, we’ve also learned more about ourselves. In doing so, we’ve begun to embrace our inner Pluto. Instead of blaming the world’s problems on evil beings around us, in the form of industry, the banking or mortgage system or multi-nationals – modern vampires – we’re looking inward. Both for the reason and for remedies. While not everybody has the capacity to halt a cooperation polluting the environment, each and every person can chose not to pollute the collective mental and emotional environment by focusing their thoughts and feelings on the positive. Where do vampires come into this? What’s “in” in media always lends insights about where the public mind is heading. There are now two vampire heroes in media. True, each is a bit dark. But each is also sexy, noble and better able than the humans around them to control their darker instincts. These are the hugely successful Twilight series of books and the first of what will undoubtedly be many movies, and the equally mega HBO series True Blood. The leads, Robert Pattinson in Twilight and Stephen Moyer in True Blood are both vampires who aren’t just handsome, their brooding nobility harkens back to old fashioned heroes, such as the withdrawn and perplexing – but ultimately virtuous – Mr Darcy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Think of the dramatic but faintly ridiculous Dracula of Bela Lugosi, with his funny accent and cape. And then look at today’s vampire heroes – and, as they’re both huge in media worldwide, you won’t have to look far. And reflect on where you are with your own dark side. It might be exceedingly revealing.