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Reading List, September 2022


Our monthly stories are productions looking to connect people to the magic of stories.

We create supplementary reading lists as a way to give you an insight into the inspirations and thinking behind our monthly stories. These reading lists take you behind the story, revealing the process of its making.



Rasa → Bhayānakam (भयानकं): Horror, terror. Presiding deity: Yama. Colour: black, Adbhutam (अद्भुतं): Wonder, amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow





This story was created based on the ruler archetype in the teachings of Carl Gustav Jung. According to his theories, the human mind is not a blank slate at birth (tabula rasa), and instead, inherits biological aspects, fundamental, and unconscious elements of our ancestors. This is where archetypes—proto patterns of the human mind—come in. Among the twelve archetypes of the human mind described by Jung, the ruler is one of the most recognizable and corruptible. The core desire of this archetype is gaining power and exercising control. The Ruler archetype is one of the most dangerous archetypes in its shadow, becoming authoritarian.

In the current socio-political context across the world, and in Sri Lanka where a majority of our subscribers live, we’re witnessing examples of the shadow rulers establishing totalitarian and authoritarian governments leaving little space for public opinion, let alone dissent. Jung’s teaching can help us develop a view of the world and its problems that includes the spiritual, psychological and the cultural.

Parallel to this, we worked with two main aesthetic flavours from the eastern Rasa theory—bhayānakam rasa which brings on moods connecting to terror and the adbūtha rasa evoking the strange and the mysterious. This reading list includes some of the literature, writing, music and films that inspired us in the making of this story.

  • The emotion of terror, or bhayanaka rasa, has its origin in the dominant state of fear. The vibhavas of this state are hideous noises, sights of ghosts, panic, anxiety, staying in an empty house, sight of death, and the captivity of dear ones. The anubhavas of this state are the trembling of the hands and feet, change of colour, and the loss of voice. Its bhavas are paralysis, perspiration, fear, stupefaction, dejection, agitation, restlessness, inactivity, epilepsy, and death.

  • Wood from kaluwara, Diospyros ebenum, or kaggawali, commonly known as Ceylon ebony, is highly valued for its incredibly dense heartwood, which takes at least a hundred and fifty years to mature into its coveted deep black. Kaluwara is a strictly protected species, but this rare wood is still illegally harvested by people and companies of influence.

  • 2002, Female Ruler Archetype of Empress St Helena. Homza Christian,

  • Stanford Experiment; The Stanford prison experiment (SPE) was designed to examine the effects of situational variables on participants' reactions and behaviors in a two-week simulation of a prison environment. Stanford University psychology professor Philip Zimbardo led the research team who ran the study in the summer of 1971. What happened when a few normal people were given absolute power and what they did with it. A cautionary true story about the human factor in cultism today.

  • Don Juan Dharmapala or Dom João Dharmapala Peria Bandara (1541 – 27 May 1597) was last king of the Kingdom of Kotte, in Sri Lanka. He is also known as the puppet king of Sri Lanka, controlled by the Portuguese, he once bequeathed his entire realm to the King of Portugal. The Portuguese takeover of Kotte, however, was resisted by the people and would only be completed much later after Dharmapala’s death.

  • There are few who have been stalwarts of Sri Lankan politics in the last half-century quite like the man often referred to as “the fox”. Ranil Wickremesinghe gained the nickname for his apparently wily ability to repeatedly resurrect his political career from the worst failures. Finally, last July, Wickremesinghe achieved what had appeared to be a lifelong political dream: he took the executive office of the president of Sri Lanka without a single vote from his citizens and through a parliamentary secret ballot.

  • The leader who transitions from the shadow to the light side of their archetype understands their role as a compassionate facilitator instead of a tyrant. The Indian emperor Asoka and Paul—a disciple of Jesus Christ, are two charismatic leaders who played historic roles in the rise of their faiths, embodying this transition from the shadow ruler to the more benevolent form of the archetype; This paper—Asoka and Paul: transformations that led to effective leadership—by Cheryl Patton (Eastern University, St Davids, PA, USA) states.

  • 2004, Tarot Cards: An Investigation of their Benefit as a Tool for Self Reflection. Gigi Hofer, Concordia University.

  • The Sri Lankan devil bird: In Sri Lankan folklore, the Devil Bird or Ulama is a creature said to emit bloodcurdling human-sounding shrieks in jungles at night. Its precise identity is still a matter of debate although the spot-bellied eagle-owl matches the profile of Devil Bird to a large extent.

  • The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil is a 2007 book which includes professor Philip Zimbardo's first detailed, written account of the events surrounding the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) — a prison simulation study which had to be discontinued after only six days due to several distressing outcomes and mental breaks of the participants. The book includes over 30 years of subsequent research into the psychological and social factors which result in immoral acts being committed by otherwise moral people. The book won the American Psychological Association's 2008 William James Book Award.

  • 1991, Administrative Adaptability: The Dutch East India Company and Its Rise to Power. D. Gerstell.

  • Kane's content mainly consists of short films as well as animations that induce terror asan aesthetic flavour. He has made films based on the Backrooms, and animations based on Attack on Titan. More of his work and details reveal Kane’s impressive knack for understanding the emotion of terror.

  • New research digs deeper into the social science behind why power brings out the best in some people and the worst in others

  • The Last King of Scotland is a 2006 historical drama film directed by Kevin Macdonald from a screenplay by Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock. Based on Giles Foden's 1998 novel, it depicts the dictatorship of Ugandan President Idi Amin through the perspective of a fictional Scottish doctor. The film stars Forest Whitaker and James McAvoy in these respective roles, with Kerry Washington, Simon McBurney, and Gillian Anderson in supporting roles. The title of the film refers to Amin's claim of being the King of Scotland.

  • Bob Dylan - A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall


  • Colombo is not Sri Lanka’s capital, but it is the one city that you can’t avoid in matters of gaining access, and sometimes even viewpoints, to the world beyond. Understanding Colombo has much to do with exploring its unshakably commercial soul and origins.


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