His Dark Materials, Part 1



You might remember Lyra from The Golden Compass, New Line Cinema’s thoroughly botched attempt to translate Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials, to the silver screen. This photo, however, is from Lyra’s rebirth in the new HBO series, His Dark Materials, which premiered last night (November 4). Chrysalis aficionados will love this series!

That original attempt to tell Pullman’s story fell short in its character development, particularly the all-important daemons. Not so with the latest effort. Lyra’s daemon, Pantalaimon (Pan for short), is pictured (above) perched on her left shoulder. Pan, like all daemons who belong to children, can shape-shift. Pan is pictured here in her ermine aspect. She’s occasionally a mouse or a moth. When a child matures, it’s daemon is said to become “settled” in only one form.

A daemon has nothing to do with a demon. May Heaven forbid it! A daemon is not only one’s spirit animal but also one’s soulmate, if you will. A person, who is a spiritual animal, and his or her daemon, who is an animal’s spirit, are inseparable, or at least should be. Pullman’s book introduces nasty “Gobblers,” who purposely separate children from their daemons. As the series progresses, we learn why.

The concept of daemons comes down to us from Greek Mythology. They are physical manifestations of the human soul. The word itself is derived from Eudaimonia, Greek for “human flourishing.” In other words, conscious awareness of Self and Soul become indistinguishable. The term human flourishing is analogous to transformation or ascension – that level of spiritual awareness we call enlightenment and in Jungian terms call individuation. 

I shall write more on this topic and the many metaphors Pullman employed in His Dark Materials that are applicable to today’s struggle, indeed today’s spiritual warfare, between individualism and collectivism; between personal freedom and the abject tyranny of globalism. His Dark Materials champions individualism, higher consciousness, spiritual freedom, free will and the like, as does Chrysalis Tarot.

You’ll find spirit animals throughout Chrysalis as well as the personal daemons (sometimes called familiars) that belong to many Chrysalis archetypes, including all The Troupe characters. This is one reason Chrysalis is so useful for spiritual growth and in developing greater awareness of the unseen world around us. My favorite daemon, of course, belongs to The Minstrel (below). He is none other than my own inseparable, personal daemon, Ozzie.

Note: The Chrysalis Companion book delves into detail on spirit animals, personal daemons and the important roles they play in our daily lives and quests for enlightenment.

© Toney Brooks, 2019


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