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Easter: the Birth-Day of the Gods

Easter: the Birth-Day of the Gods

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

When we begin to realize that virtually every single story in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is built upon celestial allegory -- especially if we have taken them literally for years, even decades -- it can at first feel like this knowledge "ruins" the great annual festivals that we once understood as commemorations of literal-historical events.

Especially the holidays of Christmas and Easter can suddenly feel strangely alien to us, because their celebration has been for so long promoted and controlled almost exclusively by those who insist upon celebrating these holidays as literal and historical, to the point that we "concede ownership" and unconsciously  adopt the mindset that the primary meaning of these annual events belongs to those who take them literally.

The unspoken assumption, if we were to put it into words or conscious thought (which we rarely ever do) is that these holidays have the most meaning for the literalists, and the idea that neither Christmas nor Easter has anything to do with literal, historical events which took place on planet Earth (although they can be shown to have taken place in the circling stars of the sky, and in fact are still taking place there, over and over each year) would be an unwelcome intrusion best kept quiet lest it "diminish" the meaning and sacredness of these special days. 

But what if, in fact, it is the literalist-historicist approach which is actually intruding upon the meaning of holidays such as Christmas and Easter?

What if the insistence upon seeing these stories as episodes in the life of someone else, no matter how revered and holy that one is, and no matter how well-intentioned we are in this insistence, actually ends up subverting their original meaning -- to the point that they are assumed to teach something that is almost "180-degrees out" from what they were originally intended to teach? 

Just such a radical assertion is argued by Alvin Boyd Kuhn in an essay entitled Easter: the Birthday of the Gods, and backed up by some of the clearest explanation found in any of Kuhn's thousands of pages of writing regarding the meaning and the purpose of the esoteric allegorical system which underlies the sacred scriptures and mythologies of the human race.

This blog has previously presented literally dozens of examples from the Old and New Testament scriptures which point very strongly to the conclusion that these stories, in common with other myths from all around the world, are esoteric in nature and that they are all united by a shared system of celestial metaphor as well as by a shared "shamanic-holographic" vision of this universe and our human experience within this earthly existence.

This shared esoteric, shamanic, and celestial foundation actually unites all of the world's sacred traditions, even as those who insist upon literalistic and historical interpretations of the scriptures almost invariably use their literalistic approach to divide humanity (generally into the two groups of "those who also interpret our scriptures our way" and "everyone else"). This fact in-and-of-itself gives us a hint that the literalistic approach tends to completely invert the conclusions reached by the esoteric approach and that it tends to wind up with conclusions that are "upside down" from the esoteric understanding.

It thus becomes very important to understand whether or not the world's ancient texts are actually literal, or if they are esoteric, and the two different approaches will lead to two very different understandings of the meanings of the stories themselves, and the meanings of the annual days associated with the different parts of the stories.

In Easter: the Birthday of the Gods (which can be read online in slightly less-than-complete form here and here, but which is so clearly and succinctly argued that everyone interested in these subjects might want to consider obtaining an actual physical copy for his or her own collection), Alvin Boyd Kuhn powerfully explains his view that all the world's scriptures and sacred stories are in fact esoteric, and his belief regarding the reason that the ancients chose to use metaphors from the natural world (to include the majestic cycles of the heavenly spheres) in order to convey their esoteric teachings.

On page 27 out of 31 in the second of the two online versions of Kuhn's Easter essay linked in the preceding paragraph, he writes -- speaking of those who gave the world their various ancient sacred traditions (whom he generally refers to as "the Sages" in all of his books and analysis) --

[. . .] those venerable Sages never wrote religious books in the form of veridical personal or national history. What they essayed to write was embalmed in forms of suggestive typist, such as myth, allegory, drama, number graphs and astrological pictography. By these methods they put forth the great truths of life and consciousness in forms of representation that would eternally adumbrate their reality to the human mind, however dull. Knowing that the essence of spiritual experience and the mind's realization of high truth are things that can not be expressed or conveyed by words alone, in fact never are fully communicable by language, they resorted to the only method that can impress true meaning even unconsciously on the brain. Every natural object and phenomenon in the living world is an objective pictograph of an elemental truth. Every object in nature mirrors a cosmic or spiritual truth. Man needs but to gaze at and reflect upon outer nature to find glyphs of the basic principles of knowledge appertaining to a higher world and level of consciousness. The laws and ordinances of spirit are adumbrated in nature's operations and spectacles.

The word "adumbrated" comes from the Latin word for "shadows" -- umbra -- along with the prefix "ad-" which means "toward" or "ahead of" and thus literally "foreshadowing" or "pre-shadowing" or (more expansively) "conveying ideas to us through shadows or representations or 'magic-lantern shows' so that we will grasp them through the 'fore-shadowing,' rather than trying to explain them to the mind in words, which does not work for some types of deep spiritual truths or concepts."

In other words, Alvin Boyd Kuhn is here expressing an idea which was also put forth in the writings of the esoteric scholar R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, who asserted that the ancients did not use "esoterism" in order to hide truths, but rather in order to convey them! In a short but extremely helpful little book entitled Esoterism and Symbol (first published in French in 1960 as Propos sur Esoterisme et Symbole and translated into a first US edition in 1985), Schwaller begins his discussion with the proclamation:

Esoterism has no common measure with deliberate concealment of the truth, that is, with secrecy in the conventional sense of the term. [page 1; italics in the original].

Having told us what it is not for, Schwaller does not, however, proceed to tell us exactly what esoterism is for, in so many words . . . but as we follow his discussion throughout the rest of the book we realize that Schwaller is showing us that esoterism is designed to convey something he calls "intelligence-of-the-heart," which cannot be conveyed through the methods normally used for the purposes of "cerebral intelligence." The entire category of spiritual truths, Schwaller argues, were seen by the ancients as of a nature that is qualitatively different from anything that "cerebral intelligence" is able to grasp -- and that the esoteric was employed in order to impress these great truths upon the "intelligence-of-the-heart," bypassing the mechanism of the cerebral intelligence, which has its own proper sphere for which it is very useful but which becomes an actual obstacle when it comes to matters of spirit.

Schwaller writes:

Spirit is found only with spirit, and esoterism is the spiritual aspect of the world, inaccessible to cerebral intelligence. 3.

This is what Alvin Boyd Kuhn is also saying in the passage quoted above, in which he says that the ancient Sages used "myth, allegory, drama, number graphs and astrological pictography" in order to "eternally adumbrate their reality to the human mind, however dull." He is not, I believe, talking about some human minds being more or less dull than others, but rather saying that there is an aspect of human mind, in all of us, which is inherently dull when it comes to matters of spiritual understanding -- the aspect of our mind which Schwaller de Lubicz calls our "cerebral intelligence."

The cerebral intelligence has its place -- it is, indeed, an essential tool that we need every day of our lives -- but it "chokes" on certain types of learning.

This is exactly why, for example, Mr. Miyagi in the original Karate Kid chooses to teach Daniel-San through the unforgettable "wax-on, wax-off" method, in what may well be the best cinematic representation of the concept of "the esoteric" ever put into a movie -- and why martial arts are traditionally passed on through exactly this type of "esoteric" methodology. If Mr. Miyagi had instead tried to teach Daniel by sitting him down and explaining the angles of the arm and elbow and shoulder and body needed in order to stop a charging opponent's punch, Daniel-san's "cerebral intelligence" would have "choked" on the explanation, and spit it back out, and started firing off all kinds of questions about "what if this" and "what if that" and "will this really work" and "what about this other?"

Alvin Boyd Kuhn says that "the essence of spiritual experience and the mind's realization of high truth are things that can not be expressed or conveyed by words alone, in fact never are fully communicable by language." Instead, the esoteric is in fact "the only method that can impress true meaning even unconsciously on the brain."

And here we begin to perceive the reason that taking stories and rituals which are intended to be understood esoterically and instead turning our intelligence loose on them as if they are supposed to be understood as literal and historical events for us to analyze can lead us to do more than just "miss the point" of their esoteric significance: it can lead us to come up with a completely different conclusion altogether, and one which in fact undermines and even totally reverses the message that the stories are trying to convey.

And this, says Alvin Boyd Kuhn, appears to be exactly what has happened with the sacred myths collected in the books which make up what we call today "the Bible," and in particular with the Easter story.

And that terrible misinterpretation, Kuhn argues, is made infinitely more serious when we consider the wonderful truths which the Easter story is intended to convey -- for Kuhn has an extremely "high view" of the spiritual meaning of the Easter story, to the point that he says that when we grasp what it is telling us, words fall short and "the one remaining mode of expressing the profundity and the majesty of our uplift is song" (from page 2 of the version linked previously).

For, the Easter story as found in the stories of the so-called "New Testament" (which themselves are but a "re-casting" of the same themes found in slightly different form in the sacred mythology of ancient Egypt, and found in many other forms in the other sacred scriptures and myths of other cultures literally across the globe) expresses a very specific point in the cycles experienced by each and every human soul.

According to Alvin Boyd Kuhn's analysis:

Easter is the ceremonial that crowns all the other religious festivals of the year with its springtime halo of resurrected life. It is to dramatize the final end in the victory of man's long struggle through the inferior kingdoms of matter and bodily incarnation in grades of fleshly existence. Other festivals around the year memorialize the various stages of this slow progress through the recurring round of the cycles of manifestation. Easter commemorates the end in triumph, all lower obstacles overcome, all "enemies" conquered, all darkness of ignorance vanquished, all fruits and the golden harvest of developed powers garnered in the eternal barn of an inner holy of holies of consciousness, all battles won, peace with aeonal victory assured at last. 3.

In other words, he argues, it refers to a point towards which we all are working in our successive visits into this realm of incarnation, this realm in which our spirit-nature is "planted in" our physical nature as a seed is planted in the earth, in order to grow: it "adumbrates" that point when the work of such cycles of incarnation is complete, and the soul triumphantly soars into an entirely new realm of consciousness.

If all that seems just a little too much to swallow (if, in other words, the "cerebral intelligence" chokes upon encountering such assertions), Kuhn in this essay Easter: the Birthday of the Gods provides what may be the best, succinct explanation found anywhere in his extensive writings of the way that the esoteric celestial allegories found throughout the world's mythologies (and operating quite clearly in the Easter story, as discussed in the previous post about the zodiacal symbolism in the gospel accounts of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and the Betrayal by Judas Iscariot).

As you read through the extended quotation reproduced below from pages 4 and 5 of Kuhn's essay on Easter, you can follow along on the now-familiar zodiac wheel discussed in countless previous posts (see for instance hereherehere and here), which is arranged such that the June solstice (summer solstice for the northern hemisphere) is at the top or "twelve o'clock" position on the wheel (in between the signs of Gemini and Cancer, in the Age of Aries used in so many surviving ancient mythologies including those in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible), and the fall equinox is at "three o'clock" (between Virgo and Libra), the winter solstice is at "six o'clock" (between Sagittarius and Capricorn), and the glorious spring equinox after which Easter is celebrated (as is Passover from the Old Testament, both commemorations representing the successful crossing of the lower half of the year, which symbolized the physical incarnation here in this body of earth and water).

Both of the important equinoxes are marked with a red "X," because at the equinoxes the sun's ecliptic (along with the sun and also -- generally speaking -- all of the visible planets appear to travel) crosses over the celestial equator, and as it crosses either "down below" this line or back "up above" this line, the days either change over to being shorter than the nights (on the way "down" to the winter solstice) or to being longer (on the way back "up" towards the top of the year):

And here now is Alvin Boyd Kuhn's explanation of the esoteric or spiritual use to which the "venerable Sages" who gave the sacred stories to the various cultures of humanity employed the above awe-inspiring annual cycle:

Using solar symbolism and analogues in depicting the divine soul's peregrinations round the cycles of existence, the little sun of radiant spirit in man being the perfect parallel of the sun in the heavens, and exactly copying its movements, the ancient Sages marked the four cardinal "turns" of its progress round the zodiacal year as epochal stages in soul evolution. As all life starts with conception in mind, later to be extruded into physical manifestation, so the soul that is to be the god of a human being is conceived in the divine mind at the station in the zodiac marking the date of June 21. This is at the "top" of the celestial arc, where mind is most completely detached from matter, meditating in all its "purity."
Then the swing of the movement begins to draw it "downward" to give it the satisfaction of its inherent yearning for the Maya of experience which alone can bring its latent capabilities for the evolution of consciousness to manifestation. Descending the from June it reaches September 21, the point where its direction becomes straight downward and it here crosses the line of separation between spirit and matter, the great Egyptian symbolic line of the "horizon," and becomes incarnated in material body. Conceived in the aura of Infinite Mind in June, it enters the realm of mortal flesh in September. It is born then as the soul of a human; but at first and for a long period it lies like a seed in the ground before germination, inert, unawakened, dormant, in the relative sense of the word, "dead." This is the young god lying in the manger, asleep in his cradle of the body, or as in the Jonah-fish allegory and the story of Jesus in the boat in the storm on the lake, asleep in the "hold" of the "ship" of life, with the tempest of the body's elemental passions raging all about him. He must be awakened, arise, exert himself and use his divine powers to still the storm, for the elements in the end will obey his mighty will.
Once in the body, the soul power is weighed in the scales of the balance, for the line of the border of the sign of Libra, the Scales, runs across the September equinoctial station. For soul is now equilibrated with body and out of this balance come all the manifestations of the powers of consciousness. It is soul's immersion in body and its equilibration with it that brings consciousness to function.
Then on past September, like any seed sown in the soil, the soul entity sinks its roots deeper and deeper into matter, for at its later stages of growth it must be able to utilize the energy of matter's atomic force to effectuate its ends for its own spiritual aggrandizement. It is itself to be lifted up to heights of cosmic consciousness, but no more than an oak can exalt its majestic form to highest reaches without the dynamic energization received from the dart at its feet can soul rise up above body without drawing forth the strength of the body's dynamo of power. Down, down it descends then through the October, November, and December path of the sun, until it stands at the nadir of its descent on December 21.
Here it has reached the turning-point, at which the energies that were stored potentially in it in seed form will feel the first touch of quickening power and will begin to stir into activity. At the winter solstice of the cycle the process of involution of spirit into matter comes to a stand-still -- just what the solstice means in relation to the sun -- and while apparently stationary in its deep lodgment in matter, like moving water locked up in winter's ice, it is slowly making the turn as on a pivot from outward and downward direction to movement at first tangential, then more directly upward to its high point in spirit home. So the winter solstice signalizes the end of "death" and the rebirth of life in a new generation. It therefore was inevitably named as the time of the "birth of the Divine Sun" in man; the Christ-mas, the birthday of the Messianic child of spirit. The incipient resurgence of the new growth, now based on and fructified by roots struck deep in matter, begins at this "turn of the year," as the Old Testament phrases it, and goes on with increasing vigor as, like the lengthening days of late winter, the sun-power of the spiritual light bestirs into activity the latent capabilities of life and consciousness, and the hidden beauty of the spirit breaks through the confining soil of body and stands out in fulness of its divine expression on the morn of March 21. This brings the soul in a burst of glorious light out of the tomb of fleshly "death," giving it verily its "resurrection from the dead." It then has consummated its cycle's work by bursting through the gates of death and hell, and marches in triumph upward to become a lord of life in higher spheres of the cosmos. No longer is it to be a denizen of lower worlds, a prisoner chained in body's dungeon pit, a soul nailed to matter's cross. It has conquered mortal decay and rises on wings of ecstasy into the freedom of eternal life. Its trysting with earthly clay is forever ended, as aloft it sweeps like a lark storming heaven's gate, with "hymns of victory" pouring from its exuberant throat. From mortality it has passed the bright portals into immortality. From man it has become god. No more shall it enter the grim underworld of "death." 4-5.

These are incredible concepts, but there is little doubt that Kuhn's analysis as outlined above must be considered a very defendable explanation of the insistent personification of the "stations" of the great zodiac wheel, found in virtually every single ancient sacred tradition of the human race, on every continent of our planet and indeed on all the scattered islands of the great Pacific and other oceans as well, and that it may in fact be the reason why those unknown ancient Sages chose to employ it, and what they intended us to understand from these stories.

And, although Kuhn himself does not go this far, I can show you to my complete satisfaction (and I believe to yours as well) that it is equally evident that the events depicted in the Easter week contain this very cycle in its entirety, from the

  • Triumphal Entry at the beginning of the week, replete with imagery of the top of the zodiac wheel, to the 
  • Agony of Christ and the Crucifixion "outside the gates" of the city -- that is, at the point of the fall equinox, which is one of the two "gates" of the year through which the sun and all the visible planets must pass as they "cross over" the line of the celestial equator and descend down into the lower half of the year (or back up, at the other equinox), and which represents the throwing down of the soul into the "grave" of the incarnate body, to cross through this incarnate life in which we are all struggling on this earthly surface, and finally turning back upwards to the
  • Resurrection and the "rising up" out of the lower realm, which takes place on the other side of the year at the spring equinox, which is replete with imagery that has to do with both the fish of Pisces and the lambs and ram of Aries, and which represents the ultimate triumph of the soul, after the lessons and necessary consciousness-raising that take place during the cycles of incarnation in the "underworld" of this material realm.

Obviously, in the Easter week series of stories, the one point of the wheel which is not really emphasized is the point of the "birth of the Christ-consciousness," which is emphasized at a different special celebration on the annual calendar: at the sun's turning-point back upwards after the winter solstice, which is celebrated as Christmas. But the starting point of the summer solstice (in the Triumphal Entry and the "Upper Room"), followed by the "casting down" point of the fall equinox (with the Crucifixion) and the "raising up" point of the spring equinox (Resurrection) are all very clearly depicted and emphasized.

Now, in the above extended quotation of the passage found on pages 4 and 5 of Alvin Boyd Kuhn's Easter thesis, when he speaks of "the divine soul" or "the soul entity" or even "the soul power," he is referring to the individual soul of each and every person. He is not referring to something outside of any one of us: an examination of the bulk of Kuhn's work makes it abundantly clear that he believes that those who gave us the sacred stories intended for us to understand that they are not about ancient men, women, heroes or demigods, but that they are about each and every reader or hearer of the story: the "star" of every story is in fact your own soul.

In a different passage from a different essay by Alvin Boyd Kuhn, quoted at the end of this post from the time of the winter solstice, he writes:

Bible stories are in no sense a record of what happened to a man or a people as historical occurrence. As such they would have little significance for mankind. They would be the experience of people not ourselves, and would not bear a relation to life. But they are a record, under pictorial forms, of that which is ever occurring in the reality of the present in all lives. They mean nothing as outward events; but they mean everything as picturizations of that which is our living experience at all times. The actors are not old kings, priests and warriors; the one actor in every portrayal, in every scene, is the human soul.

Therefore, Kuhn asserts, we will necessarily go astray if we "externalize" or literalize the sacred myths: they must be grasped by, and applied to, each and every person for himself or herself.

And this again is where, according to Kuhn in the essay Easter: the Birthday of the Gods (and according to quotations which Kuhn brings in to his essay from psychologist and scholar of mythology Carl Jung, who says the very same thing), the externalization of the Bible stories, and their use to encourage the veneration of a supposed external and historical-literal figure -- even a figure so admirable as the figure of Jesus in the gospels -- can lead us seriously astray, to the point where we not only miss the actual message of the story but end up with a message that is directly opposite from the original esoteric message.

Because, as Kuhn discusses in the extended quotation cited above, during the discussion of the September equinox and the "casting down" into the Balance of Libra and the reawakening of divine consciousness at the nadir-point of winter solstice, our sojourn in the incarnate body is a time of our own soul's passing through the "Scales" between the horizons, and of our own need to awaken the higher divine spark of consciousness within: not a time to look at the external stories and conclude that someone else has passed through the balance for us and awakened consciousness so that we don't have to!

And yet, that is exactly how the stories are interpreted by the majority of the literalist-historicist camp, lo these past seventeen centuries: the one in the stories has done those things, so that we don't have to.  

It is exactly, if I might bring in some films which did not appear until long after Kuhn wrote this essay, someone were to watch the movie The Matrix(1999) or The Truman Show (1998), and conclude: "I'm sure glad that Neo took that Red Pill -- so that I don't have to!" or "I'm so happy for Truman, that he finally 'woke up' and walked out of that 'dome of illusion' -- now I don't have to!"

Such a response would undoubtedly confuse the creators of those films -- because the whole point of the movie is that you, the viewer, need to consider waking up like Truman to the illusionists manipulating the world within the dome, or waking up like Neo to the illusion of the Matrix.

The point is not to curl up inside your "pod" in the Matrix -- or inside your little house in the dome -- and say, "I'm sure glad Truman, or Neo, woke up for me!" And the makers of those movies would probably be both surprised and dismayed if everyone interpreted their films that way.

According to Alvin Boyd Kuhn, we are not at the point described by the Easter symbolism just yet: we are still on the Scales of the Balance, down here in this mortal existence: and what we do here has an enormous impact on the progress of our invisible soul. As he says elsewhere, everything we are doing "down here" in the body is making its mark upon the record of the mighty Scales, as depicted in many "vignettes" or scenes in the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, whose correct name as Kuhn notes in the Easter essay is in fact the Book of Going Forth by Day, envisaging the future point of Easter and the soul's "Day-Break" of triumph (scene from the Book of the Dead of the scribe-priest Ani is depicted below).

The danger of the literalist misinterpretation, in Kuhn's opinion, can be seen in the "dismal" record of literalist Christianity down through the centuries since it took hold, and since the tragic triumph of literalism over esoterism during the second and third centuries "A.D.": seventeen centuries of "bigotry, superstition, persecution, hatred, war and the most fiendish inhumanity ever to be entered into the world's annals" (Easter, 16).

Ultimately, Kuhn argues in this essay, the question of whether Easter is about what the literalists say it is about, or whether it is meant to depict one of the most glorious parts of the esoteric teaching outlined above thus becomes an incredibly important question. He says, as he draws towards his conclusion,

Easter meaning and Easter ecstasy will forever elude us if we can not understand it as the drama, not of one man's history long passed [. . .] but of our own life history, the scenario of our transfiguration yet to come. [. . .] if we for a moment permit it to lure us into the belief that another man's alleged conquest of death in the long past in any degree relieves us of the evolutionary task of achieving our own resurrection, the myth becomes the source of a tragic psychological calamity for us. For to the extent we look to a man, or a miracle, or any power outside ourselves, to that extent we will let the sleeping divinity within us lie unawakened. 28-29. 

And thus, it may well be that -- far from being those with an esoteric understanding of Easter (or Christmas) who are intruding upon holy ground that "belongs to" those who take these stories literally -- it is the literalist-historicist approach that has in fact intruded upon, and thrown over, the ancient sacred meaning of these significant annual days of commemoration.

To the extent that this overthrow has led to the teaching of something entirely the opposite of what the sacred stories were actually intended to teach, this is a tragic mistake that calls out to be remedied. It is very similar to the way that the stories of Adam and Eve or of Shem, Ham and Japheth

have both been used to divide humanity and pit men and women against one another, even though if these are understood as the esoteric celestial allegories which I believe they can be shown to be, they actually teach a message that should unite men and women instead of dividing them. 

And, to the extent that this overthrow has led to "persecution, hatred, war and the most fiendish inhumanity," the question of which understanding of Easter is a twisting of the message to mean the opposite of what it was intended becomes a very important question, and not a "merely academic" question at all.

If the esoteric understanding outlined above is closer to the intention of the "ancient Sages" who gave these sacred treasures to humanity so many millennia ago, as I believe that it is, then it is a very dangerous thing for the majority of the people to conclude that they can just "curl up in their pod in the Matrix," because Neo already woke up and achieved consciousness so that I don't have to.

Alvin Boyd Kuhn argues that Easter is one of the most beautiful symbols in all of the New Testament version of the esoteric myths. I believe that when we understand it esoterically, it actually becomes even more beautiful, and more meaningful for our lives, than ever.

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The celestial fire

The celestial fire

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The Bibles of antiquity have but one theme: the incarnation. The vast body of ancient Scripture discoursed on but one subject -- the descent of souls, units of deific Mind, sons of God, into fleshly bodies developed by natural evolution on planets such as ours, therein to undergo an experience by which their continued growth through the ranges and planes of expanding consciousness might be carried forward to ever higher grades of divine being.    

-- Alvin Boyd Kuhn,

Esoteric Structure of the Alphabet and Its Hidden Mystical Language. 20.

The world today is pausing to honor the life and work of Leonard Nimoy.

He is of course most closely associated with the character of Spock in the series Star Trek, a series which depicted travel across the stars but which was certainly no less concerned with the exploration of the human condition.

He is also inextricably connected with the concept and act of blessing

Blessing can be accurately said to be an essential part of his identity, one with which he is universally identified and remembered. 

The outpouring of response today to the news that Leonard Nimoy has sprung the bonds of earth to again be among the stars from which we all came has overwhelmingly referenced his blessing "Live long and prosper," which was delivered with his intrinsic dignity and sincerity and accompanied by the famous hand gesture which he introduced during the first season of Star Trek.

It is no secret that this hand gesture represents the Hebrew letter shin and that it has profound connection to the sacred act of blessing -- which has previously been argued within these pages to be the act of evoking the divine spirit which dwells in each being in the universe and indeed which infuses every aspect of the universe itself at all times and at every point.

Mr. Nimoy on many occasions related the story of the deep impression that the act of ritual blessing made upon him as a child, during which this hand gesture was extended as part of the invocation of the divine and the ceremony of blessing (see for example this video clip showing one such explanation he gave).

In seeking to understand more fully this benevolent or beneficent side of Leonard Nimoy -- this profound association with the act of blessing, which he connected to this particular hand gesture embodying this important letter shin and the expression "Live Long and Prosper" -- let us briefly explore just a few important aspects of this symbol.

In the relatively short treatise entitled The Esoteric Structure of the Alphabet and Its Hidden Mystical Language, Alvin Boyd Kuhn (1880 - 1963) says of alphabets that:

along with every other symbolic device of ancient meaning-form, even the alphabet embodied the central structure of all ancient literature, -- the incarnation, the baptism of the fire-soul in and under body-water. [. . .] The celestial fire emanated from primal source as one ray, but soon radiated out in triadic division, and finally reached the deepest heart of matter in a sevenfold segmentation. But in its first stage of emanation it was always pictured as triform. The YOD candle-flame being its type-form, the Hebrews constructed their letter which was to represent the fire-principle with three YODS at the top level, with lines extending downward to a base, on which all three met and were conjoined in one essence. This gives us the great fire-letter SH, shin, -- ש

Kuhn then demonstrates that this letter is used in the Hebrew word for fire itself, which is esh but which he asserts on a linguistic basis is also related to AeSH and ISH, with ish being the word for "man, who embodies this single, double and triple fire" (22). The word ash, he notes, is the byproduct of fire in English, but also the great tree of life Ygdrasil in Norse mythology, the very tree upon which Odin had to hang in order to obtain the symbolic technology of writing, as well as the tree from which mankind was originally fashioned, according to some expressions of Norse myth (the reader may remember that in the past we have addressed the fact that Kuhn, writing in the early part of the 20th century, often used the terms "man" and "mankind" but explicitly stated throughout his writings that what he said applies to both men and women, and that we should not assume that he intended to refer to "men" when he used the term "mankind").

Going further with the significance of the letter shin, Kuhn explains that the Hebrew word for the sun, shemesh, also embodies the concept of spirit-fire plunging down into incarnate water and then rising back to the realm of spirit:

As a globe of fire its nature would be expressed most fittingly by the letter shin (SH), with its threefold candle flame, the three YODS, above; the place of water into which it nightly descends would be indicated by M, and the place of its final return, the empyrean above, by SH again. So the word thus constituted would turn out to be SH-M-SH (shemesh); and this is just what it is. It is the old basic story of divine fire plunging down into water, the universal trope figure under which all operation of spirit in and upon matter was dramatized. 30.

From the foregoing discussion, we can begin to understand why extending one's arm and hand with the form of the Hebrew letter shin, representative of the divine threefold fire which is plunged down into incarnation, can be a gesture of blessing: it is a reminder not to forget the divine fire within, our origin among the empyrean of the stars -- the spirit plane -- and it is a blessing that seeks to elevate the invisible spirit in each of us and in all creation itself, along with all the positive aspects connected to our "higher nature" (the opposite of cursing, which seeks to put the spirit down, to degrade others and make them less in touch with spirit and more under the control of matter and the "lower nature").

Elaborating upon the same line of argument, Kuhn says:

As a symbol designed to depict the immersion of fiery spiritual units of consciousness in their actual baptism in the water of physical bodies, the letter form that dramatizes the actual event, and the letter sound that onomatapoetically mimics the sound of fire plunging into water, this alphabet character shin is certainly most eloquently suggestive. 34.

And here we can begin to draw our analysis back to the well-beloved character whom Leonard Nimoy brought so memorably to life and whose expressions of blessing have become so powerful to a world in such great need of blessing. For Mr. Spock, of course, was a Vulcan, from the planet Vulcan -- named expressly and explicitly for the god of fire: Vulcan, known to the Greeks as Hephaestos (and who, by the way, was not only the god of fire but was also cast down to earth at one point by Zeus).


Not likely. Perhaps a manifestation of the benevolent synchronicity operating within a conscious universe, but such a connection between the hand gesture now so inextricably associated with Mr. Spock and the planet for whom his very people are named can hardly be written off as meaningless.

And, we can go even further. For, as countless previous posts have explained, the concept of the plunge into incarnation was represented in ancient Egyptian myth by the casting down of the Djed column -- where the divine spark was submerged in matter, forgotten and hidden. A major part of our work in this incarnate life was seen to be the raising up of the Djed column, which is to say the remembrance of the divine fire, the reconnection and elevation of the spirit and the elevation of the "higher aspects and impulses" of our being -- in short, all the calling forth of benevolent spirit associated with the concept of blessing!

Now, one whole series of previous posts explored the fact that the ancient Egyptian Cross of Life, the ANKH, was absolutely symbolic of this idea of raising the Djed column, elevating the spirit, and blessing (and, in fact, ancient Ankhs were often depicted as incorporating the symbolism of the Djed column in their vertical pillar). See for example "Scarab, Ankh and Djed." 

This same vitally-important symbolism of the raising of the Djed column can be seen operating in both the Old and New Testaments, in the symbol of the cross in the New Testament, for example, and of the lifting up of the brasen serpent by Moses upon a staff in the Old Testament. 

Now, you may have caught the fact that the Ankh-Cross itself was a symbol of life, a symbol of the giving of life, and thus a powerful symbol of blessing. This connects directly to the words of blessing which Spock -- and Leonard Nimoy -- would pronounce and with which he is so closely connected: "

Live long and prosper."

Two previous posts have explored at some length the amazing number of words which Alvin Boyd Kuhn believed could be linguistically and conceptually related to this powerful concept through the root sound of the ancient word Ankh -- see "The Name of the Ankh" and "The Name of the Ankh Continued: Kundalini around the world."

Now, what would happen if we combine the fire-symbol of the letter shin with the word Ankh itself? Alvin Boyd Kuhn has anticipated just such a question, and in fact he refers back to the earlier independent scholar Gerald Massey (1828 - 1907), who apparently also explored this avenue of thought:

Massey traces even the great name of mystery, the sphinx, from this ANKH stem, preceded by the demonstrative adjective P (this, the, that) and the starting S, thus: S-P-ANKH. Massey was well versed in the abstrusities of the hieroglyphics and his surmise on this is as good as that of others. The word thus composed would mean "the beginning of the process of linking spirit and matter," which indeed is the sphinx-riddle of the creation. The sphinx image does conjoin the head of man, spirit, with the body of the animal, lion, representing matter. It is precisely such values and realities that the sages of antiquity dealt with and in precisely this manner of subtle indirection. When will modern scholarship come to terms with this recognition! 38.

Now, this line of argument is most incredible, because in the above passage we practically have the name of Spock himself. Look at the term S-P-ANKH which Kuhn, following Massey, argues to be the linguistic and symbolic and esoteric origin of the word sphinx , and you will immediately perceive that if we emphasize the "velar fricative" sound of the KH (which became the voiceless velar fricative sound indicated by the letter "x" in the word sphinx) it will automatically de-emphasize the preceding sound of the "n" and give us rather directly the name of Spock!

Now, this is a rather incredible development, and the reader can be excused for exclaiming at this point that there is just no way that they were thinking of the esoteric origins of the word sphinx and S-P-ANKH when they came up with the character-name Spock!

And yet, we do not have to argue that "they" were thinking along these lines at all -- it might have been "the universe" that created this unbelievable synchronicity, independent of conscious human awareness, acting through creative human conduits.

But, it is most remarkable to note that one of the other extremely distinctive characteristics of Mr. Spock in the Star Trek series is his constant effort to present a dignified expression of calm, composed gravitas, almost never showing emotion and especially not grinning or laughing or smiling (except on very rare occasions): what can only be described as a most sphinx-like characteristic!

And so, we see that Leonard Nimoy and his blessing-speaking character Mr. Spock connect with us on a profound level, and impart to us wisdom which stretches back to a very ancient source. 

When Mr. Nimoy held up his hand in that symbol of shin, he was blessing. He was silently saying (if I may paraphrase, or interpret the symbolic content discussed above): "You are divine fire -- you have an inner spark -- you, and everyone you meet, contain this spirit-fire submerged in water, so to speak, plunged into matter, but you must not forget where you come from -- you come in a real sense from the stars -- you come from the realm of spirit, and you can remember that and elevate that -- Blessings."

It is an expression of reminder, of recognition, of elevation of the spirit and consciousness, and of blessing which is very much analogous to the gesture and greeting contained in Namaste.

And now, Leonard Nimoy has crossed over this plunge into water, this crossing of the Red Sea which is symbolic of our incarnation in this body. He has left us with these benevolent and beneficent blessings and teachings, beautifully and elegantly expressed. And he goes to be among the stars, the realm the ancient wisdom teachings of the world depicted as the realm of the stars.

We can all agree that he will not find that journey to be one with which he is unfamiliar or for which he is unprepared.

Peace and blessings.

The Undying Stars on James Tracy's Real Politik and MemoryHoleBlog!

The Undying Stars on James Tracy's Real Politik and MemoryHoleBlog!

Big thanks to Professor James Tracy for all that he does in the examination of what has been pejoratively labeled as "conspiracy theory" by those who oppose the kind of critical analysis demonstrated by "outsiders" such as Sherlock Holmes (or Scooby Doo and the gang) and which is often very much resented by "the authorities" both in mystery stories and in real life.

His website, the Memory Hole Blog, is an essential source for analysis of important events from perspectives that not only are not offered by the conventional media but perspectives that voices in the conventional media often tell us we must not even consider.

When we are told that certain hypotheses or explanations of the evidence are forbidden and may not even be considered as possibilities, we can be certain that critical analysis is not taking place -- and critical analysis is a powerful antidote to what we might broadly term "mind control" (more on the broad use of that term in a moment).

Professor Tracy teaches young men and women the value of good, open-minded analysis in his work as a university professor, and he provides an extremely important platform for alternative hypotheses, overlooked evidence, and critical examination to take place regarding major events which effect all of us.

The evidence that serious criminal deception may be taking place on a massive scale which is presented in many of the essays on his website is extremely compelling -- and it is not surprising given the evidence that I believe can also be seen connecting this pattern of deception to one with very ancient roots.

Recently, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Professor Tracy on his weekly podcast-radio program, Real Politik with James Tracy, recorded on 11/23/2014 and which aired today (video above). You can listen to the recorded conversation by using the player found on the interview page here, and you can also download the audio file (mp3) to listen to it on a mobile device by "right-clicking" or "control-clicking" on the word "Download" on the interview page or in this sentence.

After our conversation, I continued thinking about some of the valuable subjects that he raised with his insightful questioning during the interview, and wrote a series of connected posts on the topic of critical, honest analysis as an antidote to mind control, including "Analysis: Against mind control, for human consciousness," which Professor Tracy was kind enough to post on the Memory Hole Blog website today (here).

The other recent essays related to the same train of thought inspired by that conversation include:


Visitors who are new to the general areas covered in my research, especially regarding "astro-theology" or "Star Myths" as well as some of the outlines of ancient history which I believe are extremely important and which tie in to all the issues discussed above may find the following links helpful, most of which relate to specific references that came up during the recent interview:

Also, during the interview, I explained that I am using the term "mind control" very broadly. The term "mind control" can refer to many different ideas, including some very specific techniques which themselves are clearly violations of natural law and human rights, but I am using a very broad definition of mind control here, which might be summarized as follows: "A range of primarily mental rather than physical techniques, often involving deception, illusion, emotion, and ideology employed on a wide scale in order to control large numbers of people, and especially in order to get them to acquiesce to violations of natural universal law perpetrated against themselves or others, support violations of natural universal law perpetrated against themselves or others, or even completely overlook and fail to see violations of natural universal law perpetrated against themselves or others."

I am indebted to the analysis and teaching podcasts of Mark Passio among others for many of the ideas contained in that definition, as well as my own reading of the work of Lysander Spooner on the subject of natural law. For a list of links to previous posts discussing this particular concept, see the links contained in this previous post. For two posts about Lysander Spooner and his work, see for example:


For those who wish to check out other interviews in which these and other topics are explored, there is an "Interview Archive" which contains video links as well as a collection of links to the mp3 files for easy downloading (the mp3 links are in the right-hand column of the page on most browsers).

There is also an internal-search window which can be used to search the hundreds of previous posts in this blog for specific key words or search terms, located in the upper-left corner of most desktop-style browsers. Also, please feel encouraged to get in touch with me via any of various possible methods, including the modest Facebook page and Twitter handle (@davidwmathisen) that I maintain.

Finally, it is notable that Professor Tracy has terrific taste in music, and likes to end his interviews with the inimitable strains of "Elephant Talk," by King Crimson (which is all about the power of language, by the way, as well as the mutability and playfulness of language, an incredibly important area for discussion, related to the "creation of reality," touched on in previous posts such as this one). I happen to have bought that album in the 9th or 10th grade of my indenture to the public school system, and I came across it recently while searching for a completely different album (which I didn't find, but that's ok because I wasn't even thinking about King Crimson when I went looking for that other album).

Here it is (for younger readers, that is called an ALBUM!!!):

Analysis: against mind control, for human consciousness

Analysis: against mind control, for human consciousness

In the 1998 film The Truman Show, whenever Truman begins to analyze anomalous evidence suggesting that his "big picture" view of the world he inhabits might be completely incorrect and in need of serious revision, the "voice of society" always arrives on the scene as rapidly as possible in order to "prevent any breach" to the false and illusory worldview. 

Sometimes this voice comes in the form of one of his friends, or his wife, but one of the most pervasive (and most powerful) defenders of the illusion comes in the form of the media, represented in the movie by the omniscient, ever-present, soothing voice of the radio news commentator.

In the above clip, for instance, a stage light (evidently one used to simulate an extremely important star in Truman's artificial night sky) has plummeted from the bubble-like dome in which Truman is unknowingly imprisoned and crashed into the street, to Truman's astonishment. It constitutes a glaring piece of "anomalous evidence" that, if not "glossed over" immediately, could completely shatter the illusory worldview that is being offered to Truman in order to deceive him and to control his life.*

As Truman gets into his car, still puzzling over what he has just witnessed, the omnipresent voice of the radio announcer comes on to declare, "Here's a news flash just in -- an aircraft in trouble began shedding parts as it flew over Seahaven just moments ago . . . Wow! Luckily, no one was hurt -- but hey! How do you feel today?"

It is not much of a stretch to argue that The Truman Show can in many ways be seen as a metaphor exploring mind control (keeping people under control not through the use of force but through controlling their mind and what they are "allowed" to think), as well as the process of breaking out of mind control, and waking up to consciousness.

If so, then this exchange with the falling ceiling light (it is actually a "star" light) is most illuminating (ha!), because it illustrates the process of analysis and critical thinking which Truman begins to undertake as he encounters a piece of evidence which undermines the "big picture" (or paradigm, or world-view) to which he had previously subscribed: a process which, we can deduce from this scene, is absolutely essential to "waking up."

The scene also illustrates the forces which are deployed by the defenders of that paradigm to prevent the escape of those who are trapped within it --  forces very much opposed to unfettered analysis and critical thinking. This episode from the film seems to be telling us that among the most important of these forces arrayed against critical thinking and consciousness is that entity known as the media, represented by the voice on the radio, which can be understood more broadly to represent the many voices not just on the radio but in all the different forms that the media generally takes, including televised news and related shows discussing and debating current events, "history-channel-style" documentaries -- all of which can be seen as being more prone to telling viewers and listeners how to interpret what they see in the world around them than to inviting men and women to examine the evidence for themselves and apply analysis and critical thinking to see what that evidence might be trying to tell them.

The calm but friendly voice of authority coming out of Truman's radio tells him how to interpret the mystery of the smoking stage light in the middle of his street, shutting down consideration of all the other possible explanations (some of which would undoubtedly lead Truman right out of the illusion in which he has been kept his entire life).

This situation is very much analogous to the pattern seen over and over again in a Sherlock Holmes (or Scooby Doo) mystery: a crime has been committed, "the authorities" already have their theory and they are announcing it as if the conclusion is obvious and the case is already settled, the insightful Sherlock Holmes (or gang of kids with their comical dog) shows up on the scene and begins to examine the evidence and ask whether it might suggest some other possible explanations, and "the authorities" get very upset and generally try to run the newcomers (Sherlock Holmes, or Scooby and the gang) off the scene and if possible right out of town.

The authorities, whoever they might be, are always ready to foist an explanation for the evidence on those who are not willing to do the analysis for themselves -- and often it is an explanation which covers up the conclusion which, if pursued too far, would tend to undermine or even explode some of the questionable dealings or downright criminal activities (including the violation of the natural inherent rights of other men and women) which those same authorities would rather keep well out of sight.

From the foregoing, it is evident that critical analysis forms a powerful antidote to mind control.

What is this process of critical analysis which is so inimical to the power of mind control and illusion, and how do we practice it? At its most fundamental level, it is simply the process of examining the evidence for yourself (rather than taking the interpretation dished out to you) and asking what are all the possible explanations for this evidence?

 In the example from The Truman Show, for instance, Truman can almost be seen running through the possible explanations as he cautiously creeps up to the alien light-fixture. There are many possible explanations -- including the one that is offered by the "all-knowing" voice on the radio (the voices promoting the conventional interpretation will often cloak themselves in the aura of absolute certainty and confidence, implying that no other explanation could possibly be entertained).

The second part of the process is to ask which of those hypotheses seems to fit the evidence the best -- and then to look at whether there is other evidence which can help to evaluate the fit of each hypothesis. One data point, such as the light fixture, can usually be explained fairly well by many different hypotheses -- but other evidence will usually help to "fill in the picture" more clearly. In the case of the light fixture, the radio voice's explanation of "an aircraft in trouble, shedding parts" seems to be at least as likely as the possibility that Truman is actually the victim of an elaborate constructed artificial reality involving a gigantic dome containing sophisticated lighting fixtures capable of simulating daytime, nighttime, and even starlight and constellations. But when he starts to evaluate the hypotheses in light of additional "data points" (such as the observation that the same pedestrians and Volkswagens keep going past his driveway in the same order every several minutes), the hypothesis that he is living inside of a gigantic artificial construct begins to look less and less ridiculous and more and more likely.

This is the same process of comparing all the possible hypotheses against multiple data points that can be seen in most mystery stories, such as those featuring Sherlock Holmes or Scooby Doo. The more data points, the better the analyst is able to compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various possible explanations -- and hence the extreme importance devoted to "looking for clues" in such mystery stories. The same holds true in the many other areas in which we have to exercise the process of analysis and critical thought in our lives, whether assessing the possible cause of an engine that won't start, or assessing the possible courses of action an enemy commander will take in a battlefield scenario, or assessing the possible causes of an ailment or a disease, or any of a number of other situations in which we are very comfortable exercising this type of thinking.

Sadly, however, there seem to be many important areas in which we are encouraged to reject certain hypotheses without even considering them -- areas in which we are actually encouraged to ridicule anyone who even explores the way in which those hypotheses might fit the evidence at hand! A moment's reflection will bring many such "forbidden" areas to mind: hypotheses to explain anomalies surrounding the conventional explanations of certain extremely violent and traumatic political events of recent decades, for example, or hypotheses to explain the evidence that the timeline and contours of ancient human history may in fact be very different from the conventional storyline that we have been led to believe (and which is constantly reinforced by a host of "Truman's radio" voices in university textbooks, National Geographic specials, and articles in respectable newspapers and magazines, whether online or in print).

Armed with the understanding of the inimical relationship between mind control and critical analysis that we have gained from this brief examination of the scene in The Truman Show, we can immediately perceive that the areas in which some hypotheses are "off limits" and immediately glossed over by the "voices on the radio" acting to keep us from thinking about them are probably the very areas in which mind control is being exercised over men and women, to try to keep them inside of a "Truman's dome," so to speak. They are areas in which open-minded analysis and critical thinking -- so natural in other areas of our lives -- might lead to "waking up," and the perception of the outlines of the carefully constructed, sophisticated illusion.

For whatever reason, people who would never allow a stranger to confidently tell them "You cannot -- must not -- consider that possible explanation for why your engine won't start" will happily go along with the "voices of authority" who tell them they cannot and must not consider all the possible explanations for other areas of equal or even far greater import than an engine that refuses to start (and an engine that refuses to start is pretty important, but these other areas are many times more important than that!).

Those are the areas in which we should suspect the presence of mind control. Those are the areas in which critical thinking and good analysis become vitally important.

Such thinking constitutes a powerful tool against mind control, and a doorway out of the "dome of illusion" under which we struggle to wake up, to perceive, to transcend the artificial barriers which can only hold us if we lend them our consent and our "belief."

The fact that the ceiling light which plummets so dramatically into Truman's world, like a messenger from outside of everything he believes to be real, is labeled "SIRIUS (9 CANIS MAJOR)," cannot possibly be an accident or a coincidence (OK, it could possibly be an accident or a coincidence, which was just unthinkingly inserted into the movie on a piece of masking tape written by some prop designer without any premeditation on the part of the writers of the movie; that is a possible hypothesis, but as we will see from a couple adjacent data points, that is not a very likely hypothesis at all).

That this visitor from outside of the "material construct" which Truman takes to be "his whole world" and "all that exists" is labeled with the name of the brightest "fixed star" in the heavens, the star in fact who was anciently associated with the goddess Isis, this unexpected messenger who arrives to help Truman to "wake up" and achieve a higher level of consciousness, ultimately leading to his transformation and his escape from imprisoning illusion, suggests that the creators of The Truman Show were very deliberately tapping into extremely ancient and extremely powerful mythological symbols which I believe were originally designed to point men and women towards "waking up" and seeing beyond both mind control and illusion.

In fact, immediately before Truman's world is split apart by this visitor from the realm of the stars, he is accosted by a dog named Pluto (the dog's name is stated twice, once by his owner, and once by Truman himself). The dog (a big dalmatian) gets up on Truman and places its forepaws on Truman's torso, so that it is basically standing up on its hind legs. Below is an image of the constellation Canis Major, which means "The Big Dog," the constellation which contains the brilliant star Sirius in its shoulder:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

As can be seen from the row of black discs or circles, descending in size, along the bottom of the above star chart, the individual stars in charts like this are drawn as larger or smaller discs to indicate their relative brightness in the night sky: Sirius is shown as an enormous circle because Sirius is the single brightest star in the heavens, to an observer on earth (other than the sun).

The fact that a dog named Pluto gets up into the same posture displayed by the outline of the constellation Canis Major immediately before a light fixture bearing the words "SIRIUS (9 CANIS MAJOR)" plummets to the street can be interpreted as a fairly direct hint that the creators of

The Truman Show are trying to direct our attention to this part of the sky.

If we look upwards in the direction that the constellation is "leaning" (if it were actually a big dog, leaning against someone the way Pluto leans against Truman) we see that just up and to the right of the "forepaws" of Canis Major is the constellation of Orion -- you can easily make out his distinctive belt of three bright stars in the upper-right corner of the chart above. Orion was anciently associated (very strongly associated) with the Egyptian god of the underworld, Osiris: the god of the dead, the consort of Isis, and an incredibly important figure in esoteric tradition.

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that, by having the big dog rear up and place his paws on Truman the way they do, the creators of The Truman Show are implying that Truman at this point in the movie is enacting the role of Osiris, or that he is at this point trapped in the condition of Osiris. What might that imply? That he is "cast down" in an underworld (and, living as he does inside a dome, Truman does indeed exist in an underworld). That he is asleep (Osiris and other Osirian figures were often banished to a cave beneath the waves, to sleep away the eons until their promised return). That he is unconscious -- even, in a sense, "dead," because he is not really living. The remainder of the film will illustrate Truman's process of waking up, of "rising from the dead," of "raising up the Djed column that has been cast down" (the Djed column is a powerful symbol of ancient Egyptian mythos, associated with the "backbone of Osiris," and discussed in numerous previous posts, including this one).

The fact that the dog who gets up on Truman during this point of identification with Osiris is named "Pluto" is another major clue supporting the above interpretation: in addition to being a famous dog in the worlds created by that master of illusion and artifice, Walt Disney, Pluto is of course the name of the fearsome god of the underworld in the mythology of the ancient Latins, the god corresponding to the Greek Hades, the ruler of the dead and a fitting pointer to the entire underworld theme of Osiris outlined above.

If we need any further confirmation that The Truman Show is consciously and deliberately invoking these ancient myth-symbols, and doing so in a manner that demonstrates a high level of understanding of their power and import, we can take a look at the camera angle selected for the moment that Truman tentatively (or should we say, reverently?) approaches the light labeled Sirius and reaches out to touch it (see the video beginning at 0:47 in the above clip, and observe the chosen camera angle from that point until 0:58 or 0:59).

Notice anything significant about it? Truman is deliberately framed in between two pillars. This symbology is of course quite directly evocative of the scriptures of the Old Testament and the pillars of the Temple. It is also, according to the analysis of Alvin Boyd Kuhn offered in his masterful 1940 text Lost Light, symbolic of the "two pillars of the horizon" between which men and women labor in this incarnate existence, and hence symbolic of the "horizontal line" on the Cross symbol: the horizontal line of our material side, of our animal nature, as opposed to the "vertical line" of the spiritual component (see some of the discussion and Alvin Boyd Kuhn quotations in this previous post entitled "New Year's and the Egyptian Book of the Dead," for example, for further development of this topic).

The Temple, of course, can be associated with the human body in this incarnate life on earth, and the body is in fact plainly called "the temple" in some of the New Testament scriptures (both in the words of Jesus in passages such as John 2:19, and the words of Paul in passages such as 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 6:19, and 2 Corinthians 6:16) -- this lends further confirmation to the interpretation that the "two pillars" refer to "this incarnate life."

We have seen that this horizontal line of the Cross, between the pillars of the equinoxes, represents "the Djed column cast down," or Osiris laid out as a mummy upon a funerary bed or in a sarcophagus, just as the vertical line represents "the Djed column raised back up." Ancient mythology thus implied that our being "cast down" into this "underworld" of incarnation, this "vale of tears," this world of illusion (in which we falsely believe that the world we see around us is all that there is, when in fact there is a "real world which is behind this one," just as there is in The Truman Show) is somehow a necessary step on our way towards raising the Djed back up, transcending the material, piercing the illusion, escaping the bonds of death or sleep or unconsciousness.

In fact, the use of Osirian imagery seems to be a deliberate symbol inserted into films which have to do with transcending the illusion, or breaking out of mind control (see previous discussions of the recent 2014 film Interstellar and of the 1968 classic Planet of the Apes). It may be said to be a kind of signal to alert us that what we are watching may well have something to say about the journey that each and every man and woman must make through this "underworld kingdom," and the important task of seeing through the veils of illusion and perceiving the truth, and raising the Djed that has been cast down.

It should be evident that doing so requires us to take personal responsibility for analyzing and thinking for ourselves -- to tune out the voices that tell us to accept (like a child) their illusory authority, and their "settled" interpretation of all of the most important matters. This seems to imply that no one else can "wake up for us" -- we have to do it ourselves (because if we simply accept the interpretation of someone else who has "woken up" on their authority, without examining the evidence and weighing the hypotheses and making the decision for ourselves, then we are still in pretty much the same condition that we were before, only substituting one authority for another).

Critical thinking and analysis are absolutely indispensable tools against mind control and for human consciousness.

a "gloss" is a literary term for a helpful definition that is written above a word in a text from another language -- medieval monks in England, for instance, would sometimes write the English translation for an unfamiliar Latin word in a Latin text, to make it easier for them or the next reader who came to that word (so they wouldn't have to "look it up" again -- the definition was written right there above the word, or in the margin). Thus, to "gloss" something means to define it, or translate it: and to "gloss over" something is to "define away" any unfavorable meaning, or to "translate it" in a way favorable to some agenda. This usage of the word "gloss" shows just how powerful the control of language really is: controlling the words one uses and how they are defined often enables controlling the way people think (as George Orwell tried to tell us). 

Of course, a "glossary" is a collection of "glosses," just as an "aviary" is a collection of birds or a "bestiary" is a collection of animals -- a "glossary" is a collection of short, handy definitions of words. 

Orangutan, Gorilla, Chimp, Human: Which role are you playing?

Orangutan, Gorilla, Chimp, Human: Which role are you playing?

Speaking of movies in which the crew of interstellar spacecraft descend into an Osiris-like sleep, and in which time passes more rapidly on earth than it does for the intrepid space-travellers, it should be pointed out that the original Planet of the Apes explored some of the exact same concepts back in 1968, and in the process delivered a message that was as mind-bending in its own way as the message of the much more recent Interstellar.

As with Interstellar, the very prominent Osiris-imagery and Christ-imagery suggests that the film may actually be more about an individual journey of "waking up" than it is about some imagined future in which apes run the show on earth. Below are two images from the beginning of the film which clearly establish the possibility that the film is about Taylor's own "journey," one showing Taylor -- played by Charleton Heston -- about to descend into a long sleep within a high-tech "sarcophagus," and the other  showing Taylor framed against some kind of a starburst which resembles a radiant halo or nimbus behind his head, as well as the vaguely cruciform front control area of his spaceship:

While Taylor's journey of "waking up" may involve deeper themes on an esoteric level (and the journey of Cooper and Brand in Interstellar almost certainly does), the most obvious "waking up" that Taylor must accomplish during the film is his waking up to the fact that his country has been taken over by oppressive orangutans, backed up by gorillas and enabled by the compliant chimpanzees. 

For most of the movie, he convinces himself that he is actually on some far-distant planet, and somehow ignores the evidence that he is in fact right back on his home planet of earth -- evidence such as the fact that all the apes speak English and that the planet is full of humans just like himself (including one who becomes his new girlfriend). The fact that the apes can read the letters he scratches in the sand with a stick might also have been a tip-off to someone who wasn't stubbornly refusing to consider the possibility that the planet that the apes are now controlling is actually his former home, now dramatically changed.

It isn't until the movie's famous final scene, when Taylor is riding up the beach and the ruined Statue of Liberty looms rises into view, that he breaks down and realizes that the nightmarish ape theocracy he has been struggling against is actually now in charge of the land that used to be called the United States of America!

Taylor then utters the movie's final lines, in which he shouts out, "You maniacs! You blew it up!" while pounding the sand with his fist. And so, the film can clearly be seen as a warning against those who would consider nuclear war as a political option (and the film's opening soliloquy from Taylor certainly establishes that as one of the movie's themes). 

However, it is also clear that the film may be delivering powerful social commentary about the state of society as it is right now (whether in 1968 or 2014) -- in other words, while it most certainly delivers a powerful warning against the madness of war and especially the madness of a possible nuclear war, it may also be delivering a "wake up call" about the powers in control of society right now, analogized as a takeover by apes in the distant future but actually trying to convey the message that the scenario it depicts is actually the state of affairs today

As Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in her introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness (1987):

The purpose of a thought-experiment, as the term was used by Schrodinger and other physicists, is not to predict the future -- indeed Shcrodinger's most famous thought-experiment shows that the "future," on the quantum level, cannot be predicted -- but to describe reality, the present world.
Science fiction is not predictive; it is descriptive. 

In other words, according to Ursula K. Le Guin, science fiction is always much more about exploring the present world than exploring some imaginary future world. The future world it imagines is used in order to not predict but rather describe.

If this assertion applies to the 1968 Planet of the Apes, then what is the film describing?

We might, using a little bit of metaphorical language, "unpack" the film's message this way: something alien has usurped control over not just America, but the entire planet. These usurpers are represented by "the apes" in the movie, but the orangutans who are running the show are quite human, and no doubt the film means for us to understand that the orangutans of the film are representative of the rulers who have taken power. 

It is quite notable that the film depicts the orangutans as exercising control over society through the use of some very specific mechanisms:

  • They appear to have gained and maintained control through the propagation of a deliberate lie about history -- in fact, a deliberate lie about history going all the way back into "ancient history." For more detail on this particular point, please see the previous post on the subject entitled "Paging Dr. Zaius."
  • They appear to have gained and maintained control through the propagation of a literalistic, scripture-based religion, which is used to quash dissent and imbue their autocratic dictates with the appearance of legitimacy.
  • They are also in control of Science, which they use in much the same way that they use religion: as a means of control, and as a source of borrowed legitimacy.
  • While they prefer to employ tools of "mass mind control" such as appeals to scripture, appeals to science, appeals to the legitimacy of their autarchy, and if necessary the use of impressive-looking court cases and court hearings, they are also not above the use of brutal violence in order to quash dissent and maintain the illusion of the legitimacy of their regime.

The orangutans are assisted in their oppression by the complicity of two other important groups: the gorillas (representing a combination of the military and the various layers of law enforcement: those who carry weapons and use physical force to support the ape regime), and the chimpanzees (representing the intellectual classes, the academics, the actual scientists, and perhaps by extension the various layers of business management and other members of the "educated classes" of society who generally make their living through research and analysis and commentary and bureaucracy: we would probably have to include journalists and the media in this category too).

The film depicts the gorillas as basically unquestioningly obedient to the orangutan rulers, all too happy to break some heads whenever it is necessary, and the chimpanzees as overly solicitous of the orangutans, and always apologetic and ready to back down whenever their research leads them into an area in which they discover evidence which contradicts the lies which form the supporting pillars of the artificial world-view the orangutans are foisting upon the rest of society.

In other words, both the chimpanzees and the gorillas are "enablers" to the suave, self-assured, and utterly ruthless orangutans. Without the compliance of the chimpanzee intellectuals and the gorilla "muscle," the orangutans would not be able to control society as they do.

But there is one more "class" depicted in the film, and one that is actually very important: the humans. The humans in the film are mercilessly herded by their ape overlords, shot by the gorillas at the slightest provocation, and generally live a miserable, pathetic, animalistic existence. The most salient aspect of the humans in Planet of the Apes, of course, is the fact that they cannot speak . It's not that they are physiologically unable to speak, we are told (by the sympathetic chimpanzee doctor, Zira): it is simply that they do not , or perhaps that psychologically they can not. 

Clearly, since all the apes also represent humans, the humans in this film represent the rest of humanity besides those who are lording it over the rest (the orangutans) and those who are actively enabling them to do so (the gorillas and the chimpanzees). They are the voiceless groups in society, marginalized and brutalized and herded about at the whim of those at the top, but denied any say in the process.

By its very plot line, and Taylor's inability to perceive the true situation until the very end, the film seems to be saying that this takeover has already taken place, but that it is very difficult to comprehend that it has happened. It is only in the film's final scene, when the torch and crown of the Statue of Liberty come into view of the camera, that Taylor fully perceives that his country -- in fact his very planet -- is no more.

The orangutans, of course, know the truth: the cynical Dr. Zaius already knows that ancient history is very different from the way he and his fellow religious leaders have been telling it. 

The gorillas don't really seem to care: the obedience is unquestioning, and their readiness to apply violence in defense of the status quo is amply demonstrated. 

The chimpanzees are the most problematic, in that they should know better, but they resist confronting the lies that support the system in which they themselves participate, even when their own research demonstrates those supporting assertions to be erroneous or false. They are too ready to defer to the perceived "higher authority" throughout the film, until the final confrontation in the cave in which Cornelius dares to bring up evidence that Dr. Zaius cannot actually refute -- and so he orders it to be dynamited instead, to the horror of the chimpanzees in attendance, who themselves are undergoing their own process of "waking up" (and doing so a little faster than Taylor himself, it might be noted).

The messages in the 1968 Planet of the Apes might seem to belong to another age, almost another planet, so far away does the society of 1968 seem to us today. But the "present reality" that the creators of this film were striving to depict through the medium of their imagined post-apocalyptic future is one that may in fact have more resonance with 2014 than many people are comfortable in considering. 

If the above reading of the film is correct, we might each ask ourselves: "Which role am I playing?" or "Which 'ape category' am I acting like?" 

If we are playing a role in one of the categories that the film seems to describe with its chimpanzees, what are we enabling with our work? What lies are we, like the compliant chimpanzees, failing to confront, even when we see them? What evidence would it take for us to, like Cornelius, finally wake up to the fact that the worldview itself that we have been deferring to, is fatally flawed?

If our life's path has taken us to a role analogous to that of the gorillas in the film, what are we supporting and defending with our application of physical force? Since most of those who enter into this particular path do so at a fairly early age, those of us who have been in a "gorilla role" for some time now can perhaps ask whether or not the actuality has been in accordance with the ideals that we had at the outset, and whether we want to be as unquestioning as the gorillas who are portrayed in the movie in our support of what we see going on. Do we find our use of force being directed in accordance with natural law, or in violation of it? Do we find ourselves, like the gorillas in the film, viewing those we face as being mere "animals," reducing them in our eyes to the status of a "thing"

If we happen to be playing a role as an orangutan, are we -- like Dr. Zaius -- doing so in full knowledge that our societal position is sustained by a tissue of lies? Or, are we, like some of the other orangutans in the film who seem to still be "true believers," deliberately adopting a policy of "see no evil" (with "evil" in this case defined as anything which threatens the "religion" or ideology that perpetuates the orangutan regime).

And finally, are we perhaps playing the role of the humans in the film, who are simply herded around without much comprehension of what is taking place? If so, it would seem that those who are "still human" (so to speak) and who are not actively running or enabling the autocratic usurping regime, are the most innocent and least blameworthy of the four categories. But the question for them, of course, is what it will take to get them to actually break their silence? If the movie Planet of the Apes is a metaphor, then in this metaphor they are physically able to speak, but for whatever reason they do not

The possibility that the situation depicted in Planet of the Apes is, in the words of Ursula K. Le Guin, not predictive but instead descriptive, is not a pleasant one to consider (which is of course why Taylor in the movie resists this possibility for so long, against all evidence).

If, however, the creators of the movie in 1968 were accurate in their assessment, and the situation they were depicting was not a prediction but instead an actual description which "describes reality, the present world," then the solution will involve "waking up," even if (as in Taylor's case) the act of waking up is very difficult to experience. It will probably also require "waking up" from at least some of those who are currently acting in one of the every roles portrayed in the film: chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, and "human."

At the very least, the possibility that the creators of the 1968 Planet of the Apes somehow knew what they were talking about when they crafted that film should cause us to go back and examine very carefully each of the areas outlined above that the "orangutans" used in order to cement their control over society, including a false version of history, the levers of religious authority, their ability to define what is "Science" and what is not, and their use of raw violence when the first three methods fail.

If we find evidence in "our world" that these things have been going on, then depending on the degree to which we determine that they have been taking place, we might begin to suspect that (like Taylor) the scenario he is witnessing is not something that happens on a distant planet, or in some imagined distant future.

Esoteric aspects of Interstellar

Esoteric aspects of Interstellar

Those familiar with the esoteric symbols found in the world's sacred mythology will find that Interstellar is chock-full of them -- to a degree which goes well beyond the many other Hollywood productions which also contain esoteric references.

While there are already plenty of reviews of the film which focus on its visually-stunning cinematography, its incorporation of cutting-edge theoretical physics, and its apocalyptic vision of the end of life on earth, I thought I would write a short examination of some of the film's esoteric aspects, while advancing the theory that the entire story is intentionally mythological and hence metaphorical, and that spending too much time worrying about whether it is "realistic" or not might be a sidetrack to the film's actual message.

Warning: obviously, if you have not yet seen Interstellar and wish to do so, you will want to stop reading right here and come back later after you've watched the movie. This post simply cannot discuss some of the esoteric symbols in the film without giving away aspects of the plot that would be better to discover in the theater while engrossed in the spectacle of the film itself. Please don't read past this "Spoiler Alert" unless you've already seen the movie! 

Also, what follows is based on just one viewing of the movie, and I don't have the film itself at my fingertips, so I may use a few imprecise terms or even "misremember" a few details, but since I'm keeping it fairly general and relatively brief (not delving into every possible connection, but just the most important), I hope there won't be any egregious inaccuracies. Also, it should be pointed out that just because I believe this film can be viewed as conveying a powerful and positive message in line with the message conveyed in ancient scriptures that employ many of the same symbols does not mean that I automatically endorse every message embedded in the film, or the motives of those who created the film (whatever those might be).

Last chance: this is the final spoiler alert! After this point, you run the risk of ruining your first viewing of the movie, if you read on from here without going to see it first!

Here goes: I believe a credible case could be made that Interstellar is not, in fact, primarily about the impending doom of the planet earth, or the latest theories about the time-bending properties of black holes -- even though it certainly unforgettably impresses both of those subjects upon the viewer through a two-pronged delivery of breathtaking visual effects and emotionally-charged plot lines. However, it is very possible that the film's real subject matter has to do with the personal odyssey traveled by every single individual man or woman in this incarnate existence, which at all times can be portrayed as a struggle between the Sun and Saturn -- specifically, the Christ-aspects of the Sun and the Kronos-aspects of Saturn, or the Horus-aspects of the Sun and the Osiris-aspects of Saturn. 

The planet Saturn is clearly a dominant player in the movie Interstellar: it is next to this planet that the "wormhole" appears, and thus Saturn is the enormous, brooding, visually-gorgeous "gatekeeper" to the path to redemption or salvation for humanity. If the Lazarus mission is going to succeed, it will have to "pass through" Saturn first, so to speak. The main character, Matthew McConaughey's Cooper, says at one point that he doesn't like the name "Lazarus" so much -- and when Michael Caine's Professor Brand asks Cooper why not, since Lazarus came back from the dead, Cooper quips that "he had to die first."

In the extremely important book Hamlet's Mill (1969), we learn that Saturn is in fact one of the most important figures of mythology the world over -- an extremely complex character associated not only with the god Saturn of the Latins but also with Kronos of ancient Greece, and with Osiris of ancient Egypt, as well as with a host of other Saturnian figures including Enki/Ea of ancient Mesopotamia, Jamshyd of ancient Persia (whose name is also Yima Xsaeta, from which the authors of Hamlet's Mill believe the name Saturn may have also derived), the Yellow Emperor of China, and many more -- even King Arthur of the Arthurian legends. He is a god of grain and of agriculture, and he is a god of time -- associations which the viewer of Interstellar cannot fail to find most significant. Previous posts which discuss Saturn in conjunction with the theory of Hamlet's Mill include this one and this one.

Saturn is a god who has to die, to descend into the underworld, to be swathed in grave-clothes or wrapped up as a mummy when he appears as Osiris in ancient Egypt, to be laid out horizontally in a coffin or sarcophagus (as Osiris is often portrayed), and to sleep under the waters in the cave of Ogygia in some legends -- or under the Lake of Avalon in the case of King Arthur, sleeping in an enchanted cave beneath the surface, where he lies under the spell of Morgan le Fey.

According to the analysis of Alvin Boyd Kuhn, most notably in his 1940 text Lost Light, the ancients portrayed our descent into incarnation as bondage in the underworld kingdom of Osiris, where spirit beings are imprisoned in a body, coiled within the serpent coils of matter, swathed in mummy-bands, thrown down into the realm that is governed by Saturn, the lord of time, the giver of measures. 

When we incarnate, we come into the kingdom of time: the kingdom of Kronos, who devours all his children -- since time slowly ages our bodies and eventually turns them into dust. The famous painting of Saturn devouring his children (below), by Francisco de Goya, graphically depicts this well-known aspect of Saturn-Kronos. As the authors of Hamlet's Mill make clear, Saturn is a complex figure: a benevolent god of agriculture and giver of grain, a civilizing god who came and dwelt among humanity and taught them the civilizing arts, ruling over a lost Golden Age -- but also a terrible god, a tyrant who devours his children, the bearer of the scythe who cuts them down like grass, the grim reaper.

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Saturn in many ways is the opposite of the Sun itself: Saturn is the farthest visible planet, the dark sun, the underworld sun, the sun as Osiris in the underworld as opposed to Horus who is the sun leaping upwards into the heavens "between the two horizons" like a soaring falcon. When we incarnate, according to the ancient myths, we fall into this underworld of Osiris, even though we actually belong to the world above -- even though we in fact possess a hidden divine spark, showing that we have more in common with the Sun-god, symbolized by Horus . . . or the Christ within (this recent video I made shows one aspect of the correspondence between the sun-god Horus of Egypt and Christ of the New Testament, and there are many other places where you can learn more about the clear symbolic parallels between the two).

And so, in the symbolic language of ancient myth, our incarnate existence is a struggle between the undeniable fact of our imprisonment in the underworld kingdom of Saturn, the tyrannical lord of time who devours his children and turns them to dust by his inexorable turnings,  and the equally undeniable fact of our internal Christ-like nature, this "Horus principle" or "Christ consciousness" within, which urges us to transcend this underworld existence, and tells us that this earthly prison is not ultimately our true home. However, in order to rise up like Horus, we must first descend into the realm of Osiris: in order to become a Christ, we must descend into the kingdom of Saturn.

That the movie Interstellar is dealing with these very themes could not be more clear, as indicated by the symbols it employs. First, of course, is the situation on earth itself, which is portrayed as a nightmarish Saturnian kingdom in which the Saturnian symbols of corn and dust dominate everything. Cooper observes that "we used to look up in the sky, and wonder at our place in the stars: now we just look down, and worry about our place in the dirt." We are shown a world in which the "sands of time," another Saturnian symbol carried along with a scythe by "Father Time," are visibly running out.

Second, perhaps, might be the movie's frequent references to Lazarus, the New Testament figure who is called out of the cave where he has been sleeping, bound in grave-clothes or wrapped like a mummy: a clearly Saturnian figure (Saturnian figures such as Osiris or King Arthur sleep a death-like sleep in mysterious caves beneath the earth's surface or beneath the waters of the sea). The name "Lazarus" itself can be clearly shown to be directly related to the name of Osiris. The name Osiris is really the Greek form of the Egyptian name of the god, which was Azar (it is easy to see how Azar became Osir -is in Greek, where the endings -os or -is are commonly affixed to many names). 

In the Lazarus mission depicted in Interstellar, Cooper (along with his three companions) must imitate Osiris and Lazarus and King Arthur, by being entombed horizontally in a sarcophagus filled with fluid, in which they -- like all the other Saturnian figures around the world -- will literally "sleep beneath the surface." And, some of the film's most visually-majestic scenes involve the mission's tiny spacecraft against the enormous curve of the gigantic ringed planet. Just to be sure that we do not miss the esoteric Saturnian imagery, the distant sun itself is depicted in these scenes as having six clear rays of light -- evoking some of the esoteric associations of Saturn with the number six, the number of the "hex" that brings us into Saturn's domain (Saturn is associated with seven, to be sure, which is the number of the sun, moon and visible planets, but also with the number six and with hexagons and six-pointed stars and the six-sided "cube of matter" which unfolds into the shape of the cross upon which we are "crucified" in this material realm). It is as if, in these scenes showing the sun radiating six points of light, Saturn is depicted as being in control of the entire solar system and everything in it: he has even usurped the role of the sun itself and brought it under his dominion.

You can clearly see for yourself the distinctive "hex" symbology incorporated into the Saturn scenes in the official  Interstellar trailer (also embedded above) beginning at the 0:54 mark.

Finally, the most powerful aspect of Saturnian imagery in the movie is, of course, the role of time itself. In myths around the globe, Saturnian figures are associated with "giving the measures," both the measures of distance and of time (time and space, of course, being connected -- and units of measure for one being equally a measure of the other, such as the concept of a "minute," which is both a measure of time and of distance, since it is a measure of distance that the earth itself turns in one minute of time and hence can be used to measure distance just as well as it measures time). If anything can be said to be the real "antagonist" in the movie, it is time itself. Cooper is literally racing against time, poignantly expressed in his relationship with his daughter Murph, who is only ten years old when he leaves on his mission. When we learn that decades have passed for those on earth while Cooper has experienced the passage of only a couple of hours on a planet suspended near the event horizon of a black hole, we experience the visceral anguish of knowing that those brief but terrifying scenes on the planet's surface have actually been agonizing years for Cooper's children. The tyranny of Kronos, god of time, may never have been portrayed so achingly in a film before.

But of course, the Saturn imagery is not the only mythologically-rich symbology employed by the makers of Interstellar: the countervailing imagery is the imagery of the triumphant sun, the imagery of Horus, and most especially the imagery of Christ in the New Testament. Here, the number twelve is employed to evoke the twelve houses of the zodiac and the solar year, in which the sun passes through each of the twelve signs. The ship which Matthew McConaughey's Cooper will pilot through the wormhole to escape the bonds of the kingdom of Saturn will have a uniquely zodiacal design: twelve pods or "houses" arranged in a ring, which is actually set to spinning around a central module, containing the Cooper and Brand (and their two companions, neither of whom survive).

You can clearly see the twelve "houses of the zodiac" spinning around the central hub in the spacecraft piloted by Cooper in the trailer linked above, at the 1:27 mark:

If you count in a clockwise direction beginning with the pod that has a double-cylindrical connecting tube or bridge leading to the central vessel, you can easily confirm for yourself that this central vessel is indeed surrounded by twelve spinning sections -- and that it thus resembles very strongly our sun and its twelve houses of the zodiac. It also resembles Christ among his twelve disciples -- and we can argue that from a metaphorical or literary perspective, the decision to place Matthew McConaughey's Cooper and Anne Hathaway's Brand in a central vessel surrounded by twelve spinning pods indicates that they are playing the role of the sun, and that they thus become Christ-figures.

The figure of Christ in the New Testament can be convincingly shown to be a sun figure, who can also be seen as a Horus-figure: the one who transcends the kingdom of death, the one who breaks free from the underworld kingdom of Osiris, which is also the kingdom of Saturn. This is the struggle of every incarnate man or woman who comes down into the kingdom of Saturn, the kingdom of time, the kingdom of dust: to transcend the underworld realm of Osiris by becoming instead a Horus, or a Christ. No one who has seen the film Interstellar can deny that in many clear ways, McConaughey's Cooper is a Christ-figure in the film (and will, at the end, be united with Anne Hathaway's Brand, beyond the bounds of the realm of Saturn).

The centrality of this battle between Saturn and the Sun, or between the Egyptian god of darkness Set (or "Sut") and the sun-god Horus, and its importance to the spiritual situation of every incarnate man and woman, is described by Alvin Boyd Kuhn in Lost Light:

Sut, as a later representative of evil, became the opponent of the god both in the physical and the moral order. He waged war with the sun-god and was defeated, but never slain. Horus attacked him and fought with him for three days, and though wounded, he escaped with his life. He suffered rout periodically and perpetually, but was not destroyed, or only figuratively so. He lived to fight again. The sun-god cast a spell on him every day and rendered him powerless for evil. He was chained down for the aeon. All this was the natural expression of the moral conflict in man's soul, as it is of all other conflict, for life subsists in manifestation only by virtue of the pull, tension or struggle between the two nodal forces. Now one, now the other, is conqueror. 365.

This, then, argues that human life can be described as a struggle between these two forces. One is the force that "brings us down" to this world of matter, pressing us into the bondage of time, into the world of dust, turning us from dwellers among the stars to "tillers of the soil" (as Adam was forced to become, when he was thrown out of the Garden): this is the force that is proper to Saturn. The other is the transcendent Christ-nature within, the force personified by Horus in ancient Egypt, and by Jesus in the New Testament. It seems that in order to ascend to the heavens as Horus, we must first be brought down into the kingdom of Osiris, of Saturn.

In the film, Cooper and Brand and their companions awaken from their death-like sleep when their ship arrives under the enormous sphere of Saturn, and then they plunge through the gateway that will take them beyond the bounds of Saturn's kingdom, beyond the solar system and the orbit of the planet who "gives the measures" to everything within his coils and who wields the terrible sickle of time. The fact that there are twelve possible planets, each housing a courageous scientist, on the other side (outside of Saturn's kingdom) again recalls the twelve signs of the zodiac, and indeed the twelve disciples. The fact that one of the twelve betrays Cooper, the scientist Dr. Mann played by Matt Damon, only solidifies the fact that Cooper in the film is indeed a Christ-like figure.

Mann, whose name is obviously no accident, exhibits only one over-riding motive behind everything he does: his own personal survival. If we had to select one emotion as dominant in his behavior, that emotion would be fear: fear of his own demise. In recognition of this fact, Cooper calls Mann a coward, and Mann can only agree with him, over and over again.

The opposite emotion that the film offers as an alternative to a life motivated by fear is, of course, love. In fact, just before Cooper makes the fateful decision to go to Mann's barren planet of frozen gases, Brand urges the team to go instead to the planet of the scientist Edmunds, with whom she is in love, and she argues that love is at least as good a guide for their mission as any other possibility, and perhaps it is the best guide for action, in that love transcends all space and time and can even transcend death. It is only when Cooper rejects this argument as a basis for guiding their course that he makes the decision that sends them to the world governed by the fear of death and the supremacy of the urge to "survive." It becomes very clear that this is not the path that will enable humanity to transcend the material bondage of Saturn's realm: decisions that are motivated by fear instead of love, or by the bare desire to simply survive, lead only to a frozen wasteland, and to the diminished existence of Dr. Mann.

Mann's cowardice and treachery lead him to blow apart the "zodiac" ship with its twelve pods, and to his own death in the process -- exactly as the treachery of Judas in the New Testament leads to his expulsion from the "zodiac circle" of the twelve disciples and ultimately to his own death as well. The symbology of Judas' expulsion from the heavenly circle (visually echoed in the movie Interstellar and the fate of the Judas-like Dr. Mann) is eloquently analyzed by mathemagician Marty Leeds towards the end of an excellent teaching video called "The 12 disciples of the zodiac," which is discussed along with some other aspects of Marty's work in this previous post.

How many times in our lives can we recall decisions where we took the supposedly "safer" route, the practical route, the route that was motivated by the exigencies of bare survival, instead of "following our heart" or taking the path motivated by love, and ended up on a similarly sterile world of frozen ammonia like the one that Dr. Mann was stranded upon? The message of the film could not be more clear: Cooper, like Christ, is motivated by love -- as is Brand -- and this is the only path that can transcend the coils of the kingdom of Saturn, the kingdom of daily survival, the kingdom of "worrying about the dirt" and the source of our next meal, instead of "wondering at the stars."

And yet, the myths do not portray Saturn as an entirely negative figure, nor is his kingdom of matter an entirely negative realm. As we have seen at several points in the discussion above, it may be that it is only by consenting to be bound within Saturn's kingdom of the incarnate that one can ultimately transcend that kingdom: the path to the eastern horizon where Horus rises triumphantly into the heavenly realms tunnels through the underworld of Osiris first. Cooper and his companions must go through the "gate of Saturn" first, and they must be entombed like Osiris before they can rise like Christ. The experience of being cast down into this realm of matter, and incarnated in an "animal" body, can tempt us to be motivated by the bare survival instinct, but that is a dead-end. The real lesson of incarnating appears to be connected to love, according to the film.

It is interesting that some writers on this subject, including Alvin Boyd Kuhn, indicate that in some way we each choose to incarnate: and in the movie Interstellar, it turns out that McConaughey's character actually "sends himself" on his mission, by sending the coordinates to himself through the medium of the "ghost" in Murph's room, who uses gravity to push various books out of her bookshelf, or to arrange other messages from the "other side."

Cooper's daughter Murph, still back within the circle traced out by the distant orbit of Saturn and hence inside his kingdom, continues to age while Cooper is away. At one point, she sends him a heart-breaking message in which she tells him it is her birthday -- the birthday at which she is turning the same age that he was when he went on his mission. Interestingly enough, we know that she was ten years old when Cooper left, and just before this message arrives we learn that Cooper and Brand's visit to the planet with the giant waves took a total of twenty-three years (as Romilly, who stayed back on the ship, tells them upon their return). This would seem to indicate that Cooper went on his voyage to save humanity at the age of thirty-three, if I am remembering that part of the movie correctly. This number, of course, also has esoteric references, and specifically a reference to the traditional age of Christ when he performed the work of redemption.

Much more could be said about this film -- there are many other aspects which this post has not even touched upon at all. However, the above discussion should establish the possibility that Interstellar, this most scientifically modern and cinematically cutting-edge of science-fiction movies, is really portraying a very ancient symbolic conflict, between the power of Saturn who forces us to focus upon getting "our daily bread" and on staying ahead of devouring time, and our real identity and our real power to transcend this illusory physical and temporal prison, represented in myth by the figures of Horus and of Christ and of many others throughout the sacred scriptures and traditions of the world.

And the pathway to doing so, the movie seems to say rather clearly, is love (and not fear, or the instinct to simply survive).

As such, the movie may be portraying an adventure which every single man and woman who incarnates in this world experiences, in between the enormous orbs of our sun and the planet Saturn -- an adventure every bit as incredible as the one Cooper and Brand and the rest undertook, when they climbed aboard a rocket and set their course for the wormhole . . . and beyond.

"The real world that is behind this one"

"The real world that is behind this one"

Whether or not they were deliberately intended to do so, movies and other forms of storytelling often portray concepts or imaginary scenarios which can serve as useful metaphors to illustrate or to convey an understanding of profound concepts, concepts which might be difficult to explain or even to grasp without using metaphors or allegories.

It doesn't even really matter if the writers or moviemakers were originally intending to create a metaphor that can help to explain some deep truth about the nature of our universe and our place within it: we should actually expect that, if the universe really operates in such-and-such a way, then artists and writers and creators of stories should and will end up portraying analogies pointing to those realities, whether they do so knowingly or not.

A case in point is the recent movie Divergent, which is based upon a series of popular books with the same name, which I have not read and in which I am not extraordinarily interested at this time -- but (as I have mentioned before here), which do contain what strikes me as a very helpful metaphor for illustrating some aspects of the shamanic worldview. 

Regardless of your personal reaction to this recent movie (and it seems to provoke strong positive and negative reactions among different groups of viewers, as well as "strong indifference" among some who express exhaustion at the number of films that seem to be coming out in the "teen-plus-dystopia" category), it is worth considering the way the film embodies a powerful metaphor for understanding what some theoretical physicists have called our "holographic universe."

Assuming that most readers who have not yet seen the film probably fall into the "indifferent" category, no blaring "spoiler alerts" will be issued (but such an alert would come right about here, if there were one).

Without going into too much detail, the film posits a vaguely post-apocalyptic dystopian future world in which young adults are tested for their talents and predilections, after which they choose a "faction" in which they will contribute to the economy or society for the rest of their life. However, some small percentage of the population are "divergent" and have set of skills and traits that cross many categories and who have another talent which is the part which relates to the helpful metaphor regarding the shamanic worldview. 

The special talent which the divergents possess (that relates to the shamanic worldview) and which the majority of the populace portrayed in the film do not seem to exhibit is this: when they are injected with mind-altering drugs to make them enter a simulated world and react to different life-threatening scenarios within the simulation, a divergent is able to perceive that it is all a simulation, and then to bend the boundaries of the simulation in order to transcend the life-threatening situation in unexpected and seemingly-impossible ways.

The short clip from the film, shown above, illustrates one scene in which the main character demonstrates this singular talent of the divergent.

And here is where the film becomes an excellent metaphor to help us to grasp the concept of the "shamanic worldview" or the "holographic universe" (concepts which can be shown to be closely related in important ways, and which I sometimes combine to create the description "shamanic-holographic"). 

Because according to many accounts from shamanic cultures around the world, the ordinary world in which we spend most of our waking hours is actually very much like the "simulations" to which the characters in the Divergent movie are forcibly subjected: in many important ways, it is projected and constructed out of our own mind, to the point that it takes on a kind of reality, but a reality that is actually subordinate to the deeper reality from which the simulation-world is being projected. 

The reality that is the source of the simulation (or the hallucination, or the dream) is the unseen realm -- unseen, but just as real as the ordinary realm in which we normally move, and in fact perhaps more real in certain ways. Because the "simulation" realm which we generally think of as the "real world" is projected from the other realm, that hidden reality is sometimes referred to as the "seed world" or the "seed realm."

In his book Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts, discussed in the previous post, Dr. Jeremy Naydler describes the ancient Egyptian concept of the other realm, sometimes associated with a specific celestial conceptual paradigm called the Duat or the Dwat, in terms which very much resonate with this understanding of the totality of the seen and unseen aspects of reality:

The Egyptians were intensely aware that the world they lived in was more than just the world perceptible to the senses. It included a vast and complex supersensible component as well.
It would be a mistake, then, to regard the Dwat as simply the realm of the dead. It is the habitation of spirits, of beings that are capable of existing nonphysically. These include the essential spiritual energy or life energy of those beings and creatures that we see around us in the physical world. In the Dwat, everything is reduced to its spiritual kernel. Just as the forms of living plants, when they die, disappear from the visible world as they are received into the Dwat, so when the young plants unfold their forms again in the new year, they unfold them from out of the Dwat. This "hidden realm" (literally amentet, another term for the realm of the dead) is the originating source of all that comes into being in the visible world.
[. . .] In the Dwat, then, the essential forms of things exist inwardly in a more interior space -- a space that is prior to the external space into which they will unfold when they enter the world of physical manifestation. As for plants, so also for animals. Even the river Nile has its source in the Dwat. 83-84.

In a wonderful book I recently received entitled Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation, containing observations and experiences and teaching and insights from experienced shamanic practitioners and teachers and healers, including the book's co-authors Sandra Ingerman and  Hank Wesselman, as well as contributors Tom Cowan, Carol Proudfood-Edgar, Jose Luis Stevens, and Alberto Villoldo, there are many passages which attest to a similar understanding that the world of our "ordinary experience" is actually a projection of the unseen realm. 

During one important passage, Hank Wesselman discusses a series of spontaneous dreamlike visions he experienced at the age of thirty while on a scientific research expedition in the East African Rift in southwestern Ethiopia. Explaining that he was reluctant to discuss them with his fellow scientists from western countries, who might be less than receptive to such ideas, he turned to some of the African tribal men with whom he had become friends over the years of work in the field, and when he did so, he "discovered that they held a perspective that was quite foreign to my scientist's way of thinking about the world" (xvi):

Right at the core of their worldview lay the perception that the multi-leveled field of the dream is the real world, that we human beings are actually dreaming twenty-four hours a day, and that the everyday physical world came into being in response to the dream, not vice versa. These assertions were always accompanied by a conviction, strongly held, that the dream world is minded, that it is consciousness itself -- alive, intelligent, and power-filled -- infusing everything that emanates from it with awareness, vitality, and life force. xvii.

This worldview, it must be noted, is strikingly harmonious to the worldview of the ancient Egyptians as described by Dr. Naydler in the passage cited above.

And, as shamanic practitioner and teacher Michael Drake points out in one of the numerous insightful pages on his website, there are statements attesting to the same understanding from shamanic peoples halfway around the world, in North America, citing a passage from the Lakota wichasha wakon or holy man Black Elk (1863 - 1950) who had experienced his first vision unbidden at the age of nine, and who stated that the unseen realm was actually "the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that world."

That particular passage from Black Elk that he cites is an extremely insightful quotation that speaks directly to the concept that we are exploring, and it is also helpful to examine it in the context of what Black Elk is describing when he makes that particular statement -- which happens to be the vision of his second cousin, Crazy Horse, which was discussed in this previous post.

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Black Elk was actually contemporaries with Crazy Horse -- Black Elk was born in December of 1863, and thus was 12 years of age and going on 13 during the Battle of the Little Bighorn, in which Black Elk participated. Black Elk later held extended conversations with John G. Neihardt (1881 - 1973) during the years 1930 and 1931, which were published as Black Elk Speaks. Here is how Black Elk described the vision of Crazy Horse:

Crazy Horse's father was my father's cousin, and there were no chiefs in our family before Crazy Horse; but there were holy men; and he became a chief because of the power he got in a vision when he was a boy. When I was a man, my father told me something about that vision. Of course he did not know all of it; but he said that Crazy Horse dreamed and went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that world. He was on his horse in that world, and the horse and himself on it and the trees and the grass and the stones and everything were made of spirit, and nothing was hard, and everything seemed to float. His horse was standing still there, and yet it danced around like a horse made only of shadow, and that is how he got his name, which does not mean that his horse was crazy or wild, but that in his vision it danced around in that queer way.
It was this vision that gave him his great power, for when he went into a fight, he had only to think of that world to be in it again, so that he could go through anything and not be hurt. Until he was murdered by the Wasichus at the Soldiers' Town on White River, he was wounded only twice, once by accident and both times by some one of his own people when he was not expecting trouble and was not thinking; never by an enemy. [. . .]
[. . .] He never wanted to have many things for himself, and did not have many ponies like a chief. They say that when game was scarce and the people were hungry, he would not eat at all. He was a queer man. Maybe he was always part way into that world of his vision. He was a very great man, and I think if the Wasichus had not murdered him down there, maybe we should still have the Black Hills and be happy. They could not have killed him in battle. They had to lie to him and murder him. And he was only about thirty years old when he died. 

This passage is absolutely incredible in the amount of profound wisdom that it imparts. We should  each consider it carefully and thoughtfully, for there are many insights we can gain from thinking deeply about these words.

In light of the specific subject at hand, however, it offers some astonishing confirmation of everything we have seen from other shamanic cultures from far away and even from thousands of years ago. We see that this ordinary realm was seen to be less real in some ways than the unseen realm, which is actually the real one, and everything in our ordinary world is actually only a shadow of that one. That is to say, in some ways this world is an illusion, a dream -- and Crazy Horse seems to have been able to transcend the boundary between these worlds at will, and when doing so was unable to be harmed by weapons in this seemingly solid "ordinary realm."

And this point brings us back to the metaphor from the movie Divergent, because it is by remembering and realizing that she is in a simulation, a projection, an illusion or a dream that the protagonist Tris is able to transcend the seemingly-solid boundaries and barriers that exist in the simulation (and that other non-divergent characters cannot transcend when they are inside the simulation). 

In other words, the world of the simulation in Divergent is a metaphor for this world that we seem to be living in, and the characters who are born with the unsought talent of transcending those barriers, and of perceiving when they are inside an illusion and that "this isn't real" are like the shamans who are able to transcend the boundaries of this world, and who have told us in no uncertain terms that this world is actually a projection of the unseen world, and that this one is actually in some ways a dream (modern theoretical physicists have proposed models that use the metaphor of a hologram). 

As Hank Wesselman describes it, "we human beings are actually dreaming twenty-four hours a day." In terms of the metaphor, we are inside an induced simulation, and (like the non-divergent characters in the film), we normally cannot perceive that it is a simulation, and we treat it as though it is the only reality, when in fact there is a more real world "behind it" that is actually the source of this "twenty-four hour dream."

Some readers might be thinking by this point, "Does this mean, or do you intend to say, that this world is not real, and so I cannot be hurt if I walk in front of a truck driving down the freeway? Because if you are saying that, you're crazy and I'm not listening anymore."

No -- obviously that cannot be the message that Black Elk and the others are telling us. Black Elk specifically says that Crazy Horse was murdered, and he was murdered by ordinary physical weapons in this ordinary reality to which our consciousness is usually attuned. The world and everything in it may well be composed of waves of energy which our minds interpret as various objects and surfaces, and physicists will affirm that this is indeed the case -- but any surfer will tell you that waves need to be respected, and that they will spin you around like you're in a washing machine if you pick a fight with one or (worse yet) pretend that they aren't real. 

But it does mean that, if reality is actually interpenetrated by an unseen realm, one from which this ordinary realm is in some way projected, then we need to be aware of and respectful of that other realm. It also means that, if contact with and even travel to that other realm are in fact possible, we may be able to obtain information from that other realm, or even to obtain power from that other realm as Crazy Horse did and which he used on behalf of his people -- and that changes effected in that other realm (which after all is the source of everything in the ordinary realm) can have real and meaningful changes on events and conditions in this ordinary realm.

It also means (or at least it has consistently been interpreted to mean, in cultures holding this worldview, as discussed at some length in my book The Undying Stars) that we do not have to fear the destruction of our material body in this realm, as our consciousness is not ultimately dependent upon this material realm, as taught by the ideology of materialism.

To return one more time to the metaphor with which we began this examination, it is also evident that the ability to perceive that this reality is not the only reality, and to be able to project back to that "source reality" can potentially get us out of a bad situation (as shown in the clip above). Certainly, Black Elk testifies that this was true in the case of Crazy Horse's life. And contemporary shamanic practitioners and teachers today, including those who share their experience and understanding in Awakening to the Spirit World, also attest that the ability to transcend this reality can be used to help get us out of bad situations in today's world as well. 

These situations do not need to be horrible traps such as the one depicted in the film clip above, or even battle scenes such as those that Crazy Horse faced during his lifetime -- they may have to do with other situations we are struggling with individually, or bad situations that we face on a larger scale such as a societal or even a planetary scale.

Finally, Divergent  offers a noteworthy metaphor in that those who have this "divergent" ability to "see through the simulation" and transcend the barriers that the oppressive rulers of the dystopia wish to impose on everyone (including the barriers that divide people up into mutually-distrustful "factions") are seen as extremely threatening to the oppressors, and are eliminated at all times whenever they are detected. There is abundant evidence throughout history, especially in "the West" during the past seventeen centuries or more, that this attitude has very often been the prevailing policy towards those who teach some version of the shamanic worldview -- and that shamanic cultures and teachers have frequently been eliminated whenever and wherever they have been detected down through the years.

And yet, as I noted at the end of the previous post as well, this information cannot be suppressed forever -- it tends to surface in unexpected ways, even after many years of lying dormant (just like a seed, in fact).

To that end, metaphors that can help explain and illustrate this vitally important subject (a subject which, admittedly, is one that our "left-brain" minds tend to reject immediately when it is first proposed), are extremely important. The Divergent metaphor of the "simulation-projection" and its ability to be transcended by those like Tris who are able to see through it thus becomes an excellent way to explain this concept, and to get the idea past our "left-brain gatekeeper" to where we can say, "Oh yeah, I could see how that would work." 

And that's a very good thing, because the evidence seems to suggest that this in fact is exactly the way reality is indeed structured.