Darkness

“I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Darkness can mean a lot of things. The immediate association is often with sadness, depression and danger. We are afraid of darkness. Particularly in the forest when it is getting dark we don’t want to be there. Perhaps this is our instinct from ancient times. We are not trained to survive in the dark. Newt in “Aliens” says: We‘d better get back ’cause it’ll be dark soon and they mostly come at night.

Indeed we are most vulnerable in darkness. We can’t see. But they can see us. The Forest Dark is no exception. In my story night means danger. But there is more about darkness. It can mean many things. As the philosopher says, there are many things to discover in the darkness. He might refer on the Dionysian side of existence, which is associated with chaos and the unknown but also creativity. 

The forest is the perfect representation of both the bright (the Apollonian) side and the dark and dangerous (the Dionysian) side of reality.  There are purity and innocence when we look at the trees and hear the birds. But darkness is never far away. The forest is a world full of secrets.

The Dionysian view acknowledges the daemonic principle at work. Life is an essential struggle. There is agony, tragic and darkness. We see it in the struggle for survival. It suggests that we live in Purgatory. Stories and films often show us that kind of darkness in their strongest scenes: In David Lynch’s latest Twin Peaks series there is a scene in front of the dinner when Bobby Briggs tries to stop a honking woman shouting in a car after a little boy started to shoot with a gun. This is a moment where we feel that life is purgatory. It is a quiet scene which ends up in pandaemonium. It shows us a supreme reality which is full of darkness.



In the forest, there is incredible beauty and there is unparalleled cruelty – animals get eaten by insects and even fungus. The wanderer is soon in his own struggle for survival if he got lost.

The forest is the place of Dionysian rites and sacrifices. It brings up the Dionysian side of people – this is where drug parties happen and there are secrets about unspeakable things which happen in the night.  

Darkness, however, should not be mistaken. Darkness can be a condition. It is a condition where there is a connection between men and unknown spiritual forces. Something dwells in thick darkness. There is always an ambiguity about darkness. Something can look at us but we can’t see its face. Something which can’t be grasped in simple terms. A mystery which can’t be explained in words.  An experience which can’t be described. The experience of the unknown in darkness is also the previously mentioned black fire

Mythical Fires: Ezechiel’s Vision

The mysterious account of the prophet Ezechiel in the Old Testament is one of the most spectacular visionary experiences in literature. It raised a lot of speculation. Erich von Däniken interpreted the prophet’s vision as an ancient spaceship. A discussion erupted subsequently. The most astonishing development was the investigation of a NASA-Scientist. Josef F. Blumrich wanted to disprove Däniken’ s therory. In the end he changed his opinion and wrote a book “The Spaceships Of Ezekiel”. He not only followed Däniken’s interpretation but did also a plan of the spaceship in 1974. It is indeed very surprising if we look at this model from today’s point of view: It definitely looks like a drone. There are also strong similarities with the later Mars rover. Drone’s weren’t invented in 1974.

Of course, this interpretation wasn’t accepted by theological readers. The prophet spoke of “God’s glory” he had seen.

The visionary account is so interesting because it goes far beyond any simple explanation. It is a truly visionary experience which questions reality. It is something from a higher reality. The technical description which intrigued Däniken is certainly one surprising fact but there is more.

There is an incredible richness in imagination and part of the imaginary is as in other sacred texts the use of fire. The vision begins with a sighting which includes fire: 4 “And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.” (Ezekiel 1, King James Version, 4). The North was often the direction where divine beings appeared. The fire had also a certain color. As mentioned in “Black Fire” certain colours are often important in these mythological texts.

If we go further through the words of the prophet the fascinating imaginary unfolds. As any real otherworldly encounter it has overwhelming and disturbing character:

“5 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass.” (Ezekiel 1, King James Version). The supernatural quality of the entities is clearly emphasised. These are not the kind of angels we know, this is something we can’t easily comprehend.

And again fire and light becomes an important aspect of the further description of the apparition: “13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning”. (Ezekiel 1, King James Version). The description sounds somewhat like the spaceships in Steven Spielberg’s CLOSE ENCOUNTER. Spielberg’s Ufos appeared mostly as extreme bright lights rather then the notorious discs. Vice versa we could also say that the bright coloured spaceships in Spielberg’s movie had this quality of a divine appearance from the Old Testament. /p>

Perhaps the interpretation of Ezekiel’s vision as a spaceship is too simple. It is a mind-blowing experience, something which goes beyond our understanding. There is one more aspect, which adds to the unique quality. It is also the one aspect which made even the most sceptical readers of Däniken’s ideas wonder: This is the mention of the wheels and their incredible qualities:

“16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. 17 When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. 18 As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four.” (Ezekiel 1, King James Version). The description of some sort of a machine made of wheels led to the invention of the “OMNI-wheel” in the 70ties. It is really surprising to find such a technical thing in a text from 500 BC. It indeed resembles the mechanics in today’s space probes. However, it is important to see all aspects of the vision: If we look at the whole picture there is more then just a probe or a drone. It reflects visionary encounters in the purest qualities. It resembles also modern sightings and experiences in otherworldly journeys. It is more like the window to another reality opened. Fire is often the harbinger of the arrival of these divine appearance and supernatural encounters. The power of the prophet’s imagination is the fact that it doesn’t allow simple interpretations.

There are more similarities to modern visionaries and their reports: Ezekiel sometimes is described as a possessed person. He shares the destiny of many witnesses (also modern Ufo-witnesses). The vision is a life-changing moment. It is the experience that reality is not what it seems to be.

What we also learn here is that visionary encounters are rich in imagination and there are many variations. But the underlying nature of such encounters suggest that there is one phenomena behind all these incredible stories. The phenomena can appear differently and allows many interpretation, “The Gods exhibit many faces of themselves”.

Night Is Coming: The Forest Dark Video Installment No4 – Black Fire Tales

Some people go into the forest because they are drawn toward darkness. In certain places, they will find what they have been looking for a long time. But will they be ready for this kind of experience? Light and darkness are not what they think it is. Darkness is more than the absence of light, it is a tangible entity. It is a substance. Darkness is black fire. For scientists, black fire is dark matter.

Black Fire Tales

I will tell you something about the black fires.
It is not good to go into that forest up the mountain.
Not when you can see these damned lights in the night.
Some folks followed the lights but many of them didn’t return.
Those who made it back from the forest weren’t right in their heads.
They were talking about a black fire.
A gate was opened to another dimension for them and something was looking from there straight into their soul, so they said.
Sometimes it showed them wonderful things. But some of them never talked about what they have seen. Those people are not the same people they were before, I swear to you.
This is fire mixed with fire.
(Duncan, The Forest Dark Screenplay)



Black Fire

“Sometimes people see wildfires in Witch Mountains but the trees are not consumed. The fires are known as ghost fires or black fires” (The Forest Dark Movie Project).

What is Black Fire or a Cold Fire? It is mentioned in fiction, religious text and in sightings. It exists. Black Fire is a supernatural thing, a metaphorical thing and a physical reality. Indeed there is also a literally black fire which can be demonstrated in chemistry experiments: If a fire gets illuminated with a monochromatic light source (sodium vapour) and you put sodium ions in the fire the flames appear black.

A black flame is mentioned in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone.

Furthermore, black fire is for example mentioned by Deputy Hawk in Twin Peaks III when he explains the map to Sheriff Truman. He said that “there are two kinds of fire, similar to modern day electricity, but depending on your intention. Black fire symbolizes death and destruction, and probably the Black Lodge”


However Black Fire is not an invention by Lynch and Frost. It is an ancient idea which already occurs in connection with the Bible/Torah. In Jewish thought “Black Fire” is important.

The supernatural experience of Moses in Exodus 3:2 leads to the mention of black fire:

“There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. (Bible, New International Version)”.

The Midrash ( the biblical exegesis – interpretation – by ancient Judaic authorities) on Exodus 3:2 explains:

“From this they derived that the heavenly fire shoots out branches upwards, burns but does not consume, and is black in color; whereas fire used here below does not branch upwards and is red, and consumes but does not burn.”

Scholar and Rabbi Fern Feldman gives an excellent and very interesting insight on her website and opens up a new way of thinking about “black fire” and “darkness”:

Rabbi Fern Feldman: “It may be hard to imagine a black fire—perhaps it is counter-intuitive, or paradoxical. So what can we learn from this black fire?

The fire metaphor itself is multifold. It implies something awesome, powerful, something with the potential to give life or death”.

We learn that black fire is an ancient symbol for the sacred, the divine, the otherworld and there is ambiguity.

The Black Fire mentioned in Twin Peaks is also not always necessarily evil. As Hawk puts it it depends. The experience of black fire is more that we are able of overcome our boundaries and feel connected. “We become aware of a larger whole that includes all of it”, as Rabbi Feldman says.

 

Black Fire has an even longer tradition in Jewish History. It is said that the Torah is “black fire on white fire”.

“R. Simeon ben Lakish said: The Torah given to Moses was written with black fire upon white fire, sealed with fire, and swathed with bands of fire” and Yerushalmi Shelamim 6:1, 49d): THE FIRST THINGS CREATED – In the beginning, two thousand years before the heaven and the earth, seven things were created: the Torah written with black fire on white fire, and lying in the lap of God” etc. Source: Sefaria.org

Thus black fire is often a metaphor for something real, an expression of the divine. The gods can’t be seen in itself. One way they show their presence is through images which might occur paradoxical.

Black Fire is often seen as the fire of creation. That is why people are interested in it. Black fire is at the bottom of things. It is a hidden driving force. Black Fire might be also the Philosopher’s Secret Fire (Patrick Harpur wrote a book by the same title and describes it as something accompanying human history but which can’t be defined in a single way).

It is possible that black fire as a manifestation of something we can’t understand appears also in our days hiding behind other phenomenas like mysterious lights and many other.

In my story this is why people are drawn towards the forest dark. This is where black fire is more closely.