Tori Amos is an artist who has, for many years, resonated very deeply with me on many levels. Ever since I found that there’s much more to her music than most of the other musicians, I’ve managed to learn a great deal from her work. Indeed, I discovered that many of our definitive experiences are strikingly simmilar and we share many of the same feelings towards certain aspects of life.
Today’s article isn’t about me or Tori, however; it is about the things that we are passionate about discovering in ourselves and those around us. It is about the exploration of the deepest darkest parts of the psyche that seldom see the light of day. It is about feeding our spirit the pure, raw, milk and honey that it has been craving, but never knew to ask for.
Excerpted from Piece by Piece by Tori Amos
During [Boys for] Pele I really started to explore the Dark Prince archetype. It’s one that a lot of men have been able to explore, from Jim Morrison on down to Trent Reznor, and I felt it was calling me. With my religious upbringing I felt I really needed to discover that. It was different from the Magdalene essence. I’d been studying her for a long time, and she was a muse. But I needed to access the Dark Prince in myself, instead of pulling in men who had access to it. But that was yet to come.
I was courting demon lovers at the time, but I didn’t know who the real Demon Lover was. I knew I needed to initiate myself. So I went to Hawaii by myself and began that quest. I worked with a woman, a shaman, who was reputed to know how to take you on a spiritual journey by uncovering things you were avoiding in your view of yourself. While I was in Hawaii, locals were talking about the goddess Pele in a way that I had heard of, but so distantly; it wasn’t something that was in my framework like the greek goddesses or the Norse or the Celts. Eventually I began to see, not a malevolence, but–through Pele, Kali, and Sekhmet, a few of the dark goddesses–I was really beginning to discover anger. I didn’t know how to contain it yet.
So an apprenticeship began. This woman had done a lot of work with medicine men in South America and Central America, and because she was of the Feminine I felt comfortable with her. We spent a lot of time diving into archetypes. I began to have a relationship with the Dark Prince; I allowed his archetype to seed in me.
The Dark Prince holds the forbidden teaching that most of us will go out of our way to avoid. Governments around the world have instituted bans on substances, such as Ayahuasca, that help one to more easily come into contact with this archetype and religious organizations have made made this kind of exploration of consciousness a taboo.
The Dark Prince is not an evil archetype, however; he is actually there to bring light to parts of your consciousness that lay shrouded in darkness, due to ignorance or neglect. Each of us needs this if we are to, once again, become a whole person. We should feel no guilt when we break the mold of society and venture into these forbidden realms of consciousness.
When I use the term, the Dark Prince, this is my definition of a male essence that is able to shed light in darkness. Darkness, in this context, is referring to that which is hidden. Access to the Dark Goddesses and the Dark Prince had been strictly forbidden as a “daughter of the Christian Church.” The idea formed in me that somehow Satan would be there waiting, exposing any of us young women–sort of like the Gestapo–to when I began to think, with strange humor, that Satan secretly worked as an undercover agent for the authoritative side of the Christian Church. I could almost feel the hidden cameras on me, sort of like a Christian moral majority Big Brother, watching when I or any other woman would pick up controversial works by people such as Carl Jung. Works that began to dissect the unconscious. The shadow. The darkness. Thereby making archetypes accessible and tangible. Archetypes as a Forethought and an Afterthought, heralding us as imprisoned Christian women to break the Apostolic chains that were like anchors on our clitoris.
So when I use the term Prince of Darkness I see his essence more in cahoots with a doctor of the unconscious–Dr. Carl Jung. Satanic, however, is something I started to find very much ingrained in our day-to-day world. Now, obviously, when I say that, clearly there are different levels of satanic–the horrific acts that we hear about, whether on TV or through personal experiences. In a more subtle way I found it more sinister in a “business as usual” manner. The key for me here was the idea of hypocrisy, the definition of which I take from Collins English Dictionary: “the practice of professing standards, beliefs, etc., contrary to one’s real character or actual behavior.” I found this subtle form of the satanic in the form of friendships. I found it among the crew. I found it within people with whom I worked in the music business. I found it within myself. The hell-shattering moment was when I realized that satanic hypocrisy was not out there somewhere, out there with the terrorists in the world… but that hell was in the inner circle. But so was heaven. The teacher tried to ingrain this in me: “You cannot control the fates, but you can control how you as Tori are going to respond to them.”
One of the defining experiences that Tori and I share involves the user of the shamanic root Ayahuasca; a root which has been used for countless millenia by the shamans of South America. Anyone who has ever had a sufficient dose of it can attest: it is one of the most powerful experiences a human being can have.
During the experience, your sense of time, space and self-hood are distorted beyond your wildest imaginings. Time becomes dilated so much that minutes seem like hours. Space gets warped so much that you find yourself outside of your body, floating in a vortex that is nothing like any of the earthly contrivances we are used to. The self becomes so altered, through critical exploration, that we feel utterly compelled to discard what we thought was our self and seek the true self-hood that each of us posesses deep inside.
During this sort of experience, we become more our cosmic self. We experience reality in ways that are much more intense and earth-shattering. In my personal experience with Ayahuasca, I was actually able to experience multiple realities simultaneously; something which my rational mind had never considered possible.
Ayahuasca is the root from the Amazon that tribal people would take in ceremony. It’s an eighteen-hour journey, and it invades the psyche. You’re aware, you’re awake, but everything you store in the unconscious starts to get unleashed. It’s very parable-oriented; things are in parables, and you have to be able to read them.
It can burn you up in some ways if you’re not ready to look at certain parts of your subconscious, and, especially if you view your life as a situation in which everybody else has done everything to you, it’s not going to be a good journey for you. You will start to see how ou’ve also been manipulative. Nobody is blameless. If you take this substance, you will see that there’s not a “Get Out of Jail Free” card; there’s nobody you can call. You’re on that trip and no shot can bring you out. And I’ve been with people on the journey; in groups I’ve done it… there was one girl who was trying to bite her own arm off. Because you can go that far down. You want to devour yourself because of what you’ve been up to. It’s always a shock to see your own reflection.
I fasted and prepared myself for ceremony, and I knew that I was on my knees. I was at a place where I couldn’t extort somebody else’s essence and energy like an emotional vampire. There had been people who wanted to have power over me in some way, or be voyeurs of my life. I had to stop blaming them and realize that I really wanted to merge with this essence. But we’re back to the idea of merging the sacred and the profane.
A lot of people around me at that time were turned on by cheap come-ons, drawn to thinking that thet Dark Prince was somebody who would handcuff you and give you the orgasm of your life. Well, he doesn’t need to handcuff you. It’s boring. Go handcuff ourself. I’m not talking about Satan, either; people have projections on Satan, as we’ve talked about, and I have my own, too.
The revelation to me was, I was at that place on my path where, instead of the darkness being outside, it was inside. I needed to acknowledge what it could do. I would always say, Well, everything will work out in the end. But if you’re not able to acknowledge that some people are fundamentally greedy, you will be suprised that, when push comes to shove, even people that you care about may not choose the moral code. I needed to see that there were people, including myself, who could have good traits and traits that would enslave another person. So I went into ceremony and met the Dark Prince.
When I went on this trip I had a sexual/spiritual experience with a creature named Lucifer. The word Lucifer is from Latin, meaning “light-bearer,” also defined as the planet Venus in its appearance as the morning star. The other Being I had an experience with was called Davide. He seemed like a blond angel figure. Light and dark. So to me they represented Dionysus and Apollo–that’s the best way to put it. In my Being I was merging, and I remember him saying to me, “The seed is being planted, a really important seed. You will be pregnant, but with yourself, with a part of yourself. You need to give birth to a part of yourself that has been cut out.” Circumsized, I think was their word. A part of my soul had been circumsized. And they really made love to my woman in a way that I had never, ever–I mean, you want to talk about being loved out of my own purgatory…
For years I have had this feeling about many of my fellow men (and myself at times), that there was something which was quite out of place with my brothers on this planet. A sinister force seemed to be at work in many of us; a force so ubiquitous that, all but the most discerning of us, see it as a normal and healthy part of life.
But it is not healthy, it is actually very destructive and it has greatly damaged the relations between males and females. For the longest time I’ve felt a deep level of disgust towards my brothers because of this. What frustrates me more than anything is the fact that women now expect (many even demand) that all of us men posess this defect.
This seems to me to have left a deeply seated prejudice; one that gets slapped on all men by their female counterparts and immediately makes them objects of suspicion to be watched for the moment when the demons come out to feed on the unsuspecting.
They said to me that I had to find the male within myself who is this demon lover. He has to love my woman. So I asked the Dark Prince, “What are you made up of?” He said, “You have to stop chasing baby demons. A lot of people think darkness is making somebody emotionally defecate on themselves. That’s baby demon stuff.” He said, “Let’s get to a place where you can call these guys teachers, and I say that with a small t. But the lessons can be huge. These baby demons can be wonderful in some ways. Wonderful in some ways, highly conscious in some ways, but until they’ve done their work on their shadow, they are more concerned with the power of seduction and the control over another Being than anything else.” He said, “The baby demons are obvious because there’s nothing that they’re hiding. They’re not even trying to hide. They don’t even dance with profanity, they don’t respect profanity’s power over them; therefore, they drown in it, unknowingly. Pulling down with them everyone who is attached to them. And in the end, honestly, women are there solely so that these baby demons can put another female scalp on their belt.” “Ouch,” I said as I crossed my legs. “You asked,” is what I heard back.
He said, “The tricky thing is when you have people who really do good things for humanity and to free the soul, but then in other ways will hook you. And you feel that it’s a betrayal because you didn’t think that this was possible in them. And until you’ve really, really done the work on yourself and you’re able to catch yourself, when you’re fishing for heart bait, this will keep happening.” I began slowly to see how I would come across people who do wonderful acts for humanity, whether they were involved in making music or in social causes that were great for the world, but then would come home and shame their girlfriend.
Boys for Pele ended up being about those people, and that spirit in my-self. We all have teh capacity to act in a way that could invade another being. And until you’re willing to see this in yourself, you think that you’re above it. Pele was about not being above that. Before then, I could not see how I was a part of that, because I was on the victims’ team. I had to look as how members of Victims Anonymous could wear badges on their sleeves and hold everybody hostage to their victimization. So it’s coming to understand that essence, really. And it’s in songs like “Blood Roses” and “Professional Widow.”
I did have to listen to the Dark Prince when he said, “Stop playing with the baby demons. Baby demons are men in training on their path who will defecate on women in any way.” If you’re drawn to that, as I was during that time, you need to look at what in our own male aspect is fucking your women up the ass with her head smashed into the pillow. That’s stuff to make you throw up. And you have to take responsability. I wanted baby demons because I desired what they could access. But once it got down to it and I would be in a room alone with one of them, I would kind of go, “Do I really desire this guy?” And my inner chick would say, “He’s a turnoff; I mean, his hands smell like onions–and he’s not an Italian chef.” These were guys who became friends but first drew me in because I found in them something I needed to see in myself.
That’s what the Dark Prince told me. “You need to spend time. Your male needs to spend time with your woman, take her shopping.” I did that. I spent a little bit of time before I got into another heavy relationship, which was mark after that.