Hallmarks of Our Modern Myths, Part II


Even if you dismiss the symbolic meanings of these films, their exoteric narratives often reveal common values entirely consonant with the Mystery traditions. While many of these values are typical of any conservative value system in any culture, there are others that are not only unique to the esoteric worldview, but are actually antithetical to the standard Judeo-Christian ethics you would expect from such mainstream fare. Sex, magic, and the idea of greater human potential are seen as evil and destructive by conservative elements in the so-called Abrahamic religions, but are highly valued within the ancient Mystery traditions. 

HORUS/SOLAR SAVIOR

The defining hallmark of our modern mythology, and a theme we've looked at in depth on this blog, is the Solar Savior. Again, this is a theme taken from the ancient Mystery cults and midwifed into our modern culture through secret societies and occult groups. 

More precisely, the rolue of solar savior corresponds to the Age of Horus, announced by Aleister Crowley in the early 20th Century. His prophecies of the Age have been remarkably accurate in many ways, less so in others.

As I wrote in Our Gods Wear Spandex, the solar savior theme burst back into the public consciousness via heroes like Superman and Captain Marvel, both explicitly and consciously modeled on Hercules, the most widely regarded solar savior of the pre-Christian world, a figure whose fame survived the Church and was acknowledged by groups as disparate as Egyptian and Phoenican pagans, Gnostics, and Medieval Alchemists. Hercules was a symbol of inspiration for Renaissance painters, a symbol of a reawakened Europe.


The Italian sword and sandal movies, which enjoyed a great deal of success in the late 50s and early 60s brought a tidal wave of pagan imagery and myth-themes to the mass consciousness and are under-valued in today's culture. 

The rich and lusty paganism they invigorated postwar culture with was swamped by dreary, life-denying materialism and postmodernism in the mid to late 60s and 70s, but their influence simply fed into junk culture; heavy metal, sword and sorcery gaming, novels and comics and other pursuits unnoticed by the cosmopolitan mindset that dominated respectable discourse. Concurrent with the sword and sandal craze was the Tolkien revival. Needless to say these sword and sandal films were filled with solar saviors such as Hercules and Jason.

An early dissenter from the materialist/nihilist mindset that was/is de rigeur in the media and academia was Stanley Kubrick, who seems to have undergone some kind of life-changing epiphany that he never spoke openly about (Network/Altered States author Paddy Chayefsky was another dissenter). 

His 2001:A Space Odyssey remains a radical work of art, so much so that academics refuse to discuss what the film is actually about, and require themselves to couch their analyses in opaque symbolic navel-gazing. 

The film's Star-Child is a startlingly explicit solar savior, though you need to read Arthur C. Clarke's novel to glean exactly how and why.

Both Kirk and Spock played the role of Solar Savior in the Star Trek films (not so much the TV series) and by his very name Jean Luc ('John the Light') Picard exists as one. Data played the role of the Baptist (the Gnostic savior) in the woefully-underrated final Next Generation film Nemesis.

Both Anakin and Luke Skywalker played the solar savior and the "chosen one", with Anakin being captured by the Sith and the Dark Side of the Force and Luke playing Horus and avenging his father and freeing his soul from capture.

Star Wars unleashed a flood of imitators, in the movies, on TV (Battlestar Galactica) and on Saturday morning cartoons. Explicit gods became heroes again on TV starting in the 1970s with Isis and solar savior figure Captain Marvel, and Hercules has been seen in countless incarnations.

The most interesting spin on the solar savior is the Gnostic savior, of which Dark City and The Matrix are the two most well-known and interesting of the lot. Dark City is the more explicit of the two in that John Murdoch (read: 'Oannes Marduk') actually brings the Sun to a city trapped in endless night. 

Dark City auteur Alex Proyas also made Knowing, a new frontier film (a theme to be explored later) and is currently making a more explicit film about Egyptian religion (extremely explicit).

The Matrix is more problematic, in that the power and clarity of the original film is badly muddled by the confusing and compromised sequels. But John Anderson ("Son of Man") is saved by knowledge, even though the film seems to use Gnosticism as another riff, rather than an idea to be understood and applied to one's own life.

We've seen solar savior mythology in the Transformers films, precisely in the first sequel. That film trades on Egyptian mythology and religion for its plot and imagery in a way you wouldn't expect from a toy tie-in and Optimus Prime plays the role of sacrificial solar savior. Don't ask me why.

We've also looked at solar savior themes in more unlikely places, such as the work of John Cusack (particularly the film Pushing Tin and The Numbers Station, which was filmed on the location of the famous Rendlesham UFO incident), and comedies like The 40 Year Old Virgin and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. You really never know where these themes are going to manifest themselves.


HATHOR/ISIS ARCHETYPE

In keeping with the positive view of sexuality, another important characteristic of nearly all of these myths is the goddess archetype. What I mean by this is that women are not only portrayed as being both strong and feminine, they are seen as having power and authority. 

Dana Scully is the ultimate avatar of the goddess- a figure of authority, a seeker after truth and justice but also a companion and advocate of the dead in her role as medical examiner. Also a Gnostic goddess in battle against the Archons who seek to enslave humanity.


There were female characters on the original series but Star Trek: the Next Generation was the most conscious pantheon-making exercise on television (there've probably been others that don't come to mind since), with an Isis (Beverly Crusher), a Sekhmet (Tasha Yar) and a Hathor (Deanna Troy).

Princesses Leia and Amidala are not simply damsels in distress in the Star Wars films, they  are decision makers and figures of governmental authority. Amidala has several aspects of Isis in her character.  But Lucas never seemed as interested in female characters (and not much interested in character in general).


The same can be said of  Lady Jessica, who is a divine mother archetype. In addition, the Bene Gesserit sisterhood is of crucial importance in the Dune universe.   

The Isis archetype is seen in these stories as these heroines who save their mates. This is true with Leia and Han Solo,  Scully with Mulder, Trinity with Neo, Uxia with Paul, and Kate Bowman with Robbie Gallagher.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a classic Sekhmet archetype- a slayer of things in the night, a protector of those walk by day. Her relationships have echoes of Hathor's relationships with Horus in that there is a distance, an elusive nature to them.


The Battlestar Galactica remake is filled with warrior women and therefore filled with Sekhmet archetypes. The original series made extensive use of Egyptian and Pre-Christian symbolism, as well as Mormon gnosticism.



Trinity in the Matrix films is an ass-kicker, but is also nurturing and protective of Neo, more motherly than romantic. She follows the Sekhmet/Hathor archetype; the fierce lioness who is also loving and nurturing. Carrie Ann Moss plays the same figure in Memento and Red Planet. Hermione in the Harry Potter films is not only assertive but also much more studious than her friends Harry and Ron, perhaps a reflection of the series' own author. 

Conversely, the Jennifer Connelly character in Dark City is more in line with the Venus aspect of the Hathor archetype- identified with sex and music, sexually unfaithful but also dedicated and protective to Murdoch, even at risk to herself.

TO BE CONTINUED

Hallmarks of Our Modern Myths, Part I



I often get letters from readers inquiring about the archives, particularly about the work dealing with movie symbolism. These posts seem to be the most popular series in the archives, though the particular exegesis at work might be a bit overwhelming to new readers. 

Since people are constantly discovering these posts I thought it would be useful to have a kind of thematic guide to the underlying themes in the series looking at films such as Star Wars or The Matrix, so neophytes can understand the basic issues that aren't always made explicit in the texts. 

Which is to say that there are a set number of hallmarks that I study in each film as part of an overarching exegesis, that ties these modern myths back to stories that are much, much older. This will be a work in progress, so if there are major revisions to a certain post (and there may be major additions as I go along) it will be reposted. So keep an eye on the site in the coming days.


MILITARISM

Most problematic in our mythos is the recurring theme of militarism and military discipline. Many of the heroes in our myths are either in the military or militaristic organizations. Self-discipline and aggressive strength are often glorified, even in those characters who are civilians. 

Star Trek not only champions the military ethic in the presentation of its heroes, it also positively presents a universal system of governance that is essentially a totalizing military dictatorship. Star Wars does the same (though to a lesser degree), glorifying the (celibate, self-denying, essentially slave-like) military order of the Jedi as its highest ideal. 

Similarly, Frank Herbert (the ur-source of many of Star Wars' concepts) presents a very positive image of militarism and feudalism in the first Dune novel, despite his protestations in later years that he was actually critiquing the corruptive aspects of power. 

Alien invasion films/shows such as Independence Day, Battleship and Falling Skies gives us not only a heroic panoply of warriors, they also hint at military rule. The Chronicles of Narnia is also unabashed in its worship of militarism and warfare. But military ethics and values extend beyond the obvious suspects here. 



Like Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica (the remake mostly, but the original as well) glorifies a militarized society in service of an existential battle with a wholly alien threat, in this case artificial intelligence.

2001: A Space Odyssey and the Mars movies present astronauts as heroes, even though they don’t engage in actual combat. But astronauts are also highly trained and regimented individuals, and NASA is for all intents and purpose a branch of the U.S. military.  

Likewise, Mulder and Scully may seem like mavericks, but both are highly-trained, elite Federal police officers. And the rebels in The Matrix may seem hip and countercultural, but they are in reality an extremely specialized and regimented guerilla army.  Similarly, Harry Potter trains at Hogwart’s, which resembles nothing less than a military academy for young witches and warlocks. 

It’s also worth noting that the four most archetypal creators of these types of myths-- Roddenberry, Arthur C. Clarke, C.S. Lewis and Frank Herbert --all served in the military.



HIERARCHY/MERITOCRACY

In addition to the explicit glorification of the highly disciplined and physically powerful individual (which is unsurprising given that many of these stories are action-oriented), these myths also champion other militaristic ideals. 

For instance, none of these stories seem to bother with ideals like democracy or egalitarianism (with the notable exception of Moore's BSG, which presents us with the unlikely concoction of a liberal military totalitarian state). On the contrary, most of these stories present us with hierarchies. Orders are given and followed and people seem to know their place.  

Subsequently, HAL is presented as a villain in 2001 because he usurps Dave Bowman’s rightful station as commander of the Discovery. And the first signs we see that Anakin Skywalker is crossing over to the ‘Dark Side’ is when he becomes insubordinate and breaks Jedi protocol. 

Even in Dagon, Paul’s refusal to go along with the plan laid out for him by his father is depicted as being literally self-destructive. When Uxia intervenes and physically forces him to submit to Dagon’s will, he is granted immortality.

Yet at the same time, these characters are not serfs, condemned to a lifetime of drudgery as in the Feudal system. There is a implied meritocracy at work, often presented in the form of military rank. Characters are seen being promoted or advanced, often to positions of great power. Luke Skywalker, Paul Atriedes and Neo are all examples of this. 

This closely mirrors the Mystery traditions, where initiates start off in positions of powerlessness but are allowed to earn the right of advancement, either in the form of rank or degrees. The creator of the national Sol Invictus religion, Aurelian, rose from humble origins to a position of supreme power through military service. 

This pattern seems to be a very important one in the Mystery tradition. Hierarchy is decided by merit, at least theoretically. 



The idea of justification by works is common in ancient Egyptian religion. When one appeared before Osiris in the Hall of Judgment, his soul was weighed and he was required to account for his life and justify his eternal reward through both negative and positive confessions (“I did this good thing and I did not do that bad thing’). The soul was then measured against the Shu feather of Ma’at, (which represented truth)  and the soul was judged accordingly.

That all these archaic concepts bled into these kind of entertainments speaks to the influence of Masonic and quasi-Masonic groups at the turn of the century in Hollywood and  other corners of the showbiz world. 

They also seeped into the work of writers like Herbert and Lucas through mythicists like Jung and Campbell, as well as more exotic occultists such as Aleister Crowley and Alice Bailey.


TO BE CONTINUED 

Note: As always, please be aware that, as always, The Secret Sun isn't just about the text. 
If you don't click the links, you're only getting part of the story.  

A Very Sirius Election: Pretending that the Wars are Done

“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy. … Either party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.” 
Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time 

I've been saying for many years that we don't really have a two party system in this country, and certainly we don't really even have the appearance of one like we did when I was young. Back then you had bonafide working class Democrats like Tip O'Neill, who opposed the Republicans based on substantial economic differences. 

Bill Clinton and his "New Democrats" did away with all that by putting the last knife in the back of the working class, though in truth the process began when Nixon -- so-called champion of the Silent Majority-- went to China to open up its labor camps and sweatshops to American corporations.

Today, we have two Republican parties, for in truth the Democrats are nothing but the old Rockefeller Republicans (and are in fact funded by the Rockefellers and their networks of bundlers and NGOs, such as the Soros groups). 

The only difference between the parties is in the symbolism and the identity politics, which can get very toxic indeed.  

Even conservatives are starting to realize this, the ideological, non-partisan conservatives, that is. I've been saying for years that on a whole host of issues Obama (or his handlers) is to the right of Ronald Reagan (or rather, his handlers) and certainly economic inequality has done nothing but skyrocket the past 6 years. 

So many of the 'positive indicators' are smoke and mirrors (people are no longer considered unemployed when they give up looking for work) but the truth is that a record amount of Americans are not employed, and that number is expected to grow due to automation.

PUNCH 'n' JUDY

Our electoral system really begins to resemble professional wrestling the more you look at it. John Kerry, a popular, long-serving Senator from Massachusetts turned into a bumbling idiot when he ran against fellow Bonesman George Bush in 2004. You could almost read from the script he was following.

Another popular Massachusetts pol, Mitt Romney, played the mustache-twirling evil rich guy role to the hilt in 2012, despite having served in an overwhelmingly Democratic state as a classic Northeast moderate. He even went so far to run against Obamacare, which was modeled on his own (successful) health care program! 

He too seemed ordered to take the big dive and ensured he would lose by enlisting Ayn Rand radical Rep. Paul Ryan, whose budget plans scared all of the seniors and others dependent on Social Security. Otherwise, like Kerry, there's a good chance he would have won. Can't have that.

There's a funny pattern that never seems to fail in our two party system. The Republicans win a Presidential election and immediately begin to make noises about going after Social Security, which threatens their older voter base. Suicide, in other words.

The Democrats win an election and immediately unleash the social justice harpies, which not only depresses their own turnout in the midterms (see the 1994 and 2014 elections), it further alienates working class white voters. 

Again, it's like some script is being followed.

Though I realized the Democrats were being set up for a fall in these midterms when the same hectoring, elitist dialectic that contributed to the 1994 disaster was rolled out in their party's media organs such as The New York Times and Salon.com, it was a rather odd but important signal that clinched the deal. A President who valued symbolism so highly, whose election and inauguration was rife with high initiate symbolism was being told, in no uncertain terms, that he was about to be humiliated....


This series looked at the astounding efforts made to identify Obama with Tut, who was praised by the scribes as the great restorer of the Horus Throne after the disastrous reign of the heretic Akhenaten. Obama was even ritually anointed as the new Tut by no less a luminary than the (now-disgraced) Zahi Hawass (read: Aiwass).

But it all went badly. Obama's campaign in the Muslim world and the Arab Spring didn't lead to a new era of peace and prosperity, it lead to widescale war, chaos and dictatorship and the mad-dogs curiously named "ISIS" by the Western media.

If Obama was meant to be the symbolic figurehead of the new New World Order, it's safe to say all of that is in serious jeopardy. Russia got tired of the constant provocations by NATO and is now indulging in much more serious provocations of its own. China is feeling its oats and crunching its numbers and seems to have decided it would be better off as the overlord of a rising Asia than the underling of a dying West.

Could that be what led to this strange story, popping into the new cycle towards the end of the campaign season?


The REAL face of King Tut: Pharaoh had girlish hips, a club foot and buck teeth according to 'virtual autopsy' that also revealed his parents were brother and sister  
• ‘Virtual autopsy’ composed of more than 2,000 computer scans carried out •  Genetic analysis of Tut’s family showed his parents were brother and sister • Family history could also have led to his premature death in his late teens • Various myths have him murdered or dying in chariot race • Club foot would have made it impossible to take part in chariot racing 
Yeah. Still want to be identified with King Tut? I didn't think so. 

This could all be a coincidence but given the exhaustive and explicit efforts made to identify Obama with Tut, I tend to doubt it. 

I stopped paying attention to all of these symbolic provocations, for the same reason I stopped paying attention to the occultism in pop videos and other media; by blogging about them I became an accomplice to whatever workings were being done.

But even though I've only been paying half-attention I do have to say that there seems to be a lot less of this kind of thing in the political arena these days, which may be why you may be looking at much different landscape in this country in the years to come. 

Because, as Americans were focused on the elections, the rest of the world seems to be getting ready for war.

Sweden is finding that it looks like easy pickin's for a big ol' hungry bear, who's been slapping it around with unanswered incursions the past several weeks:  
States like Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, and Sweden have to understand that the doubletalk is newspeak--that it’s almost meaningless, and they have to take the Russian threat seriously. Poland has responded to the ceasefire by realigning its entire force structure east, to fight the Russians in case of invasion. Both Sweden and Finland are examining ways to deepen cooperation with NATO, and Moldova is edging towards changing its traditionally neutralist stance.

In one form or another, these states are preparing for war. Eventually, one or many – but most likely the Poles – are going to push back against Russian aggression in Ukraine, either surreptitiously with “volunteers” or overtly with some sort of joint units. And then there will be a crisis, because some NATO states will be in a war and others will back them up.

So despite the doublespeak, despite the conferences, despite the de-escalatory frameworks and timetables, NATO is heading towards a crisis that could remake the face of Western security.  
Sweden would fall in an hour, its Viking spirit long since snuffed out by a stultifying political correctness. The Baltic states might be a bit tougher, but no match for Russia's missiles. Would America really risk nuclear war to protect them? It didn't when it was a much stronger and more united country.

If Russia was the only problem, it could probably be contained. But it's not:
Russia is already the world’s third highest military spender behind the United States and China and they’re clearly going to keep amping it up. But they won’t be doing it alone. 
As has been the case for the last decade, Russia can look to China for support. The two nations’ alliance is more powerful than most are willing to acknowledge. Consider their support for one another throughout the Ukraine crisis.
When Russia invaded Crimea in March, China tacitly supported the move by abstaining from a vote in the United Nations. And when new EU sanctions against Russia came out last week, Beijing suggested that additional sanctions “may lead to new and more complicating factors” in Ukraine.
 And that’s not all. Russia and China cooperate along economic, technological, military, and political lines. What’s more, in all of these areas they have something the U.S. lacks: strategy and the will to put it into practice.
Things are about to change in this country. In Europe as well. You can sense it, if you put your antennae up high enough.  I lived through the chilling phase of the last Cold War and I'm getting a definite sense of deja vu.

I can't begin to speculate what awaits us on the other side of the worldwide conflict that is fast approaching, I can only guess that the world as we know it now is about to be swept away like sand castles in a tsunami.