Posts Tagged ‘true detective’


The spiral is, in one sense, an abstract, geometrical shape. It has no actual existence in the world, except as a manifestation in the form of a spiral (a snail’s shell, a slice of fish cake). This paradoxical state means that the spiral can only be said to negatively exist – the spiral in itself is never manifest except as a spiral “in” some thing, in the world. This sort of bleed-over effect of the abstract into the concrete world is different from our traditional examples of the magic circle… On the one hand, the spiral has no existence except as manifestation – and it is this contagious, pervasive manifestation that the characters describe as unnatural or strange. On the other hand, throughout the Uzumaki series, the spiral is more than just a pattern in nature – it is also equivalent to the idea of the spiral itself. That is, the abstract symbol and the concrete manifestation are inseparable, to the point that the outer world of the spiral’s manifestation can “infect” or spread into the ideational world of the spiral as an idea. Beyond a geometrical symbol, and beyond a pattern in nature, the spiral in Uzumaki is ultimately equivalent to thought itself – but “thought” understood here as not simply being the interior, private thoughts of an individual. Instead, the spiral-as-thought is also “thought” as unhuman, “thought” as equivalent to the world-without-us. In this sense Uzumaki suggests that the Absolute is horrific, in part because it is utterly unhuman.

vlcsnap-2014-03-11-20h35m58s6 - cosmic horror

The magic site is, simply, the place where the hiddenness of the world presents itself in its paradoxical way (revealing itself – as hidden). In some cases magic sites are like magic circles, constructed by human beings for specific purposes. This is the case with the mad scientist theme in the Lovecraft story. More often than not, however, the magic site spontaneously happens without any human intervention. The magic site need not be on sacred ground, and it need not have special buildings or temples constructed for it. It can be in the darkest, most obscure, hidden caverns or underground fissures. It may be an accidental or unintentional site – the site of an archaeological dig, the site of a mining operation, the site of a forest or underground subway tunnel. Whereas the magic circle involves an active human governance of the boundary between the apparent world and the hidden world, the magic site is its dark inverse: the anonymous, unhuman intrusion of the hidden world into the apparent world, the enigmatic manifesting of the world-without-us into the world-for-us, the intrusion of the Planet into the World. If the magic circle is the human looking out and confronting the unhuman, anonymous, hidden world, then the magic site is that hidden world looking back at us. It is not surprising, then, that whereas the magic circle evokes vaguely anthropoid creatures (demons, ghosts, the dead), the magic site creeps forth with entities that are neither animate nor inanimate, neither organic nor inorganic, neither material nor ideal.