The undead have come under fire from the living for tempting social outcasts to fantasize of a world where extensive knowledge of zombies outweighs lack of charm or good looks. Zombies, though, are much more than that. With millions looking, not with dread, but with anticipation towards the apocalypse, we must ask ourselves what it is about civilization that makes us long for its demise. We long for release but lack the language to express ourselves. So we do what people have done for ages when they encounter something they can’t explain: invent a mythos in the form of stories. Just as death is the sister of life, so apocalypse has always been the sister of any civilization built on the assumption that humanity is in control of its destiny. Global overheating, peak oil, unpayable debt, collapse of the world market, Jesus, Mayans, viruses, and cosmic rays all threaten to render governments impotent and obsolete. The message of the zombie movement is that in this age of fear and uncertainty, we must not merely watch our world crumble around us, nor resist the inevitable change, but embrace it! Rejoice in the new era of freedom and independence. Lines will be drawn between the living and the dead, but life, as it always has, will see a new birth of the soul.
As a Youth, it is with great regret that I deplore the lack of gathering places for young people in Worcester. As we ride from place to place, many of my fellow Youth may be driven down dark paths. I beseech my peers not to turn to licking the trees of our fair City. With the encroach of the Asian Longhorn Beetle, and the spraying of nicotine-based imidacloprid pesticide on our vulnerable trees, combined with the forthcoming ban on the sale of cigarettes in pharmacies, which will completely prevent youth from accessing nicotine, it is a great temptation to run into the nearest forest and lick trees until your tongue turns to bark—but you can just say NO! Despite society’s hatred for our boisterous conduct, deviant behavior, and general ﬂippancy, we Youth must never succumb to weakness, but strive onwards, creating positive places for emotional and psychic growth, making our presence felt, and raising our voices, refusing to accept the prevalent stereotype of “tree-licking delinquents.” There can be a better tomorrow, and I’ll need you all there, with me.
Tarot, the 300-year-old method of cartomancy & occult meditation, originated as a set a layman’s gambling cards in the 1500s. The 22 cards of the Major Arcana depict archetypal images that have received every conceivable shade of interpretation: planes of existence, states of mind, steps to enlightenment, a kind of MapQuest for the soul. Perhaps no card has been open to more misinterpretation than the card known as “The Hanged Man.”
“The Hanged Man” portrays a man strung up by the feet, but with a look of illumination on his face. Many scholars of the Tarot, including the late renowned British mystic Aleister Crowley, have painted this card as symbolizing forced sacriﬁce, martyrdom, & suffering, even inviting comparisons to Jesus Christ. In my study of the Tarot I have found it to mean none of these things.
The Hanged Man is not suffering. He seems to be enjoying himself. The Hanged Man symbolizes the understanding that comes from letting go of your old worldview & your old view of your place in that world. What hangs on that cross is only his ignorance & with that gone he is free to do as he likes. For me, he symbolizes the City of Worcester.
Worcester isn’t about ambition or success. In some ways it’s almost off the map. Neither the Hanged Man nor Worcester are into following the mainstream; they’re doing their own thing. When you drop out & flip your mind, you see things you otherwise wouldn’t have. The Hanged Man is the original, keeping it real, & at its best, this City is too.
Image: “The Hanged Man” by Aiden Duffy. From the April 2011 issue of Happiness Pony. [PDF]