I have been playing Persona 5 on the Playstation 4 and not only is it one of the best games that I have ever played, but the game itself also gave me inspiration for my metaphysical practice. Below are some of the ways that the game has helped me develop my craft.
Be warned – there are spoilers ahead for Persona 5.
Persona: Deities, Mythological Symbols and Supernatural Creatures
One of the main features of the Persona series is the use of a Persona for the combat in the game. In the game, the Persona is the manifestation of the character’s psyche – when they recognise that the masks that they wear in their day to day lives are separate from their true selves. In Persona 5, these masks are torn off and become reflections of the characters’ true selves.
Where the Persona for the non-player characters are limited to two, the main character that I controlled has the power to switch between Personas. This is where the game intersects with my craft. The Persona designs are inspired by common archetypes, world mythologies and diverse religions. The Persona that the main character uses ranges from the common Pixie to Mara, a creature that tried to tempt Buddha, to Satanael from the second book of Enoch.
The game allows you to read a brief background on the Persona; this is the area where I gleaned knowledge on deities and creatures that I did not know even existed. The designers also did a good job with the Persona models. I like how the designers have different interpretations of certain Persona. Despite deviating from the original descriptions sometimes, the designers modernised and made familiar the Persona. For example, where the demon Mara is often portrayed as a humanoid figure, the game decides to make the demon clearly phallic.
Further to that, each Persona has its own combative skills. This includes basic stats such as strength, magic and agility and more importantly elemental attacks that provides insight into certain correspondences of the Persona if I choose to invoke the deity, creature or demon in my craft.
Overall, Persona 5 is a great introduction to a wide range of deity, demon and creature, along with the myths and legends that they come from and it has opened my eyes.
Characters: Major Arcana
Most of the characters in the game relate to the Major Arcana. Death is a doctor that is wrongfully blamed for a child’s deteriorating condition. The Wheel of Fortune is fortune-teller who did not believe that destiny can be wielded by man. The Sun is a failed politician trying to make a change in the world. The High Priestess is the Head of the Student Council who neglects to listen to her inner self.
The game encourages you to reach out to these characters as they provide the main character abilities. Apart from these abilities, I personally learned more about the actual Tarot card through the storyline for each Major Arcana. At this point in time, I am sadly not able to complete storylines for roughly half of the Major Arcana in the game, but for those that I managed to complete, it has become easier for me to remember the meaning of the relating Major Arcana. The High Priestess became in touch with her inner hidden self; the Temperance learns to temper the sins of her past, the responsibilities of her present with hope for the future; the Wheel of Fortune learns that although there are forces outside of her control, there can still be changes made.
I cannot wait to play the game for a second time for the game’s insight into the Major Arcana.
In the game, the main character encounters several villains that have a damaged worldview. These villains often abuse their position of power and hurt others for their own gain. The main character and his party make these adults understand the callousness of their actions through entering their minds (called Palaces in the game) and stealing these villains’ Treasure, a la Inception. Without the Treasure, the Palace collapses and the villains understand their severity of their actions.
The game advocates the famous “As within, so without” phrase that is commonly used in western metaphysics. For example, where there is a blocked path in one of the villain’s Palace, the characters have to return to the real world so as to make the villain see that the lock that holds his secret is not as impenetrable as he had previously thought. The characters also manage to make these villains repent by convincing their inner selves to take responsibility for their mistakes.
The game helped me understand the circularity of the worlds within and without our beings. By performing rites and spells, I influence my mindset within and also put forth my intentions to the powers without. In a way, my practice makes me a Phantom Thief for myself and the others I am helping. The game helped me understand this.
The game also has other interesting parts relating to metaphysical craft. There is a deep subway system called Mementos that represents the collective unconscious in the game that made me think of how groupthink works and can be managed. It also made me think of how we invoke different deities, demons and other occult figures in our lives as personas, using their correspondences to help strengthen certain qualities in ourselves or to manifest certain situations on our own.
I recommend anyone who is a practitioner and has a Playstation 4 console to get the game. It gave me insight into my own practice and I hope it will do the same for you too.