February 03, 2018

The Satanic Sins of Dr. Facilier

The cards, the cards! The cards will tell:
The past, the present, and the future as well.
The cards, the cards! Just take three.
Take a little trip into your future with me.

-Dr. Facilier
Here's something you might not know about me: I love Disney villains. Because I have two children under age 10, we watch a lot of Disney movies in our house, and one of the things I enjoy doing is picking apart the villains to determine how they might have been successful in their scheming. Was there a single misstep that proved fatal in the end? Or was the villain's downfall the result of a character attribute which led to a series of missteps or miscalculations?

I think my all-time favorite Disney villain is Jafar, but the one with whom I most identify is Dr. Facilier because he is the most accurate big-screen representation of who I am as a fortune-teller. I'm not a practitioner of voodoo, hoodoo, or anything else Disney used to color his character, so I can't say how accurate any of that is, but in terms of the Tarot related stuff I'd say it was spot on for the reality of Tarot reading (whether or not Tarot readers are willing to acknowledge that reality.)

Regarding Dr. Facilier in Disney's "The Princess and the Frog," though, I think his downfall was caused by his failure to work within his level of stratification. 

Now, let it not be said that people should content themselves to their lots in life. If people aren't satisfied with their lives, they're absolutely allowed to do whatever is within their power to create a different reality. But I also think that any of us who feel called to change reality according to our wills should do so with at least one rule in mind: Never reach your hand further than you can take it back.

Dr. Facilier was a skilled magician, no doubt about it. He could conjure familiar spirits, was served by a shadow familiar, could swap a person's consciousness from one body to another, and more. He was hungry for more material success than what he knew, but he was unable to accept that a half loaf could be better than none. Had he reconciled himself to accept this half-loaf proposition, he could have used his dark magic to monopolize the minds or bodies of local business owners and politicians.

Instead, he permitted his disgust for his present level of stratification to forbid the pursuit of half-loaves. In walks the Prince Naveen, though, and Dr. Facilier reaches out from his hole-in-the-wall voodoo shop to the top of an ivory tower (cue Prince Naveen: "It's actually polished marble.") Because the window of opportunity for Dr. Facilier to act was so small, and his resources so limited, he took on incredible spiritual debt to finance his occult manipulations...

... debt which he had no way to pay.

How might have Dr. Facilier's life been different if he had accepted every half- and even quarter-loaf he could get? I can't imagine it would be difficult for somebody like him to sink roots into the police department, courts, city hall, and main street. He could have built an empire on quarter- and half-loaves, but he refused those because he wanted the King cake, or nothing at all.

The moral at the heart of "The Princess and the Frog" is that taking the easy way is no way to get ahead, and you know, I agree completely: if Dr. Facilier had accepted the necessity of small steps to gradually build up his occult empire, he would have succeeded in his goals. In this way, the story of "The Princess and the Frog" isn't a condemnation of Dr. Facilier's methods, only his reach.

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