Happy New Year – Cinema Symbolism 4 sneak peek

Happy New Year! Enjoy this sneak peek at Cinema Symbolism 4 (the Preface, rough copy). Enjoy!

To this author, the thought of composing another occult movie book in the vein of Cinema Symbolism 2 (2017) and Cinema Symbolism 3 (2021) is, quite frankly, nauseating. I have no interest in writing another volume focusing on a particular movie, then analyzing it through an esoteric-Hermetic-Gnostic lens while identifying Easter eggs. I’ll take a rain check on that.

Instead, this time around, I am taking Cinema Symbolism 4 in another direction. While select films will get individual chapters (those with well-hidden undercurrents like The Batman, 2022), this book will focus on arcane topics and how specific movies project and visualize the occult, magic, and mythology into pop culture, casting powerful spells. For instance, rather than apply Joseph Campbell’s (1904-1987) monomyth to a certain film, I will present the elements of the hero’s journey and identify them as they appear in cinema proper. Indeed, I will continue to point out Easter eggs as I discover them; if I didn’t do that, what sort of analyst would I be?

And speaking of Easter eggs, how did I miss that elusive one in Mother! (2017) and that diabolical homage in The Witch: A New-England Folktale (2015). Mother!, a Gnostic flick that looks like it was directed by Valentinus (ca. 100-ca. 180 CE) and produced by Philo of Alexandria (ca. 25 BCE-ca. 50 CE), was dissected thoroughly in Cinema Symbolism 3 (2021) by yours truly. However, upon rewatching it in the autumn of 2021, I noticed the yellow elixir Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) drinks to ease her anxiety alludes to the Rolling Stones’ appropriately titled song “Mother’s Little Helper” (1966). The tune is about a mama who consumes yellow tranquilizers to alleviate her depression. Does not Lawrence’s Sophia-like Mother “… go running for the shelter of her mother’s little helper ♫” to get her through her “♫ busy dying days ♫” spent with the demiurgic, capricious Him (Javier Bardem)?

The Witch, a Luciferian masterpiece also scrutinized in Cinema Symbolism 3, was rewatched by this author during the summer of ’22. Once more, something jumped off my flat-screen television I hadn’t observed before. William’s (Ralph Ineson), the pride-infected father of the doomed family, ceaseless wood splitting hearkens back to The Amityville Horror (1979), wherein the hapless patriarch, George Lutz (James Brolin), also incessantly chops firewood. Whether the impetus is conscious or subconscious, Robert Eggers, The Witch’s director, uses woodcutting as an occult mnemonic, transferring the evil lurking inside 112 Ocean Avenue to the Puritan family’s seventeenth-century homestead where the satanic Black Phillip is king (because “ a crown grows out his head [and] to a nanny queen is wed ♫”).

Also left out of my last book was the origin of Twin Peaks’ (1990-2017) Dweller on the Threshold, a term lifted from the neo-Gnostic world of Madame Helena Blavatsky’s (1831-1891) Theosophy Society. The Russian mystic defined them as “certain maleficent astral doubles of defunct persons,” hence the entities inhabiting the Black Lodge representing the person’s shadow self and unresolved issues at the time of their death.[1] Make no mistake, David Lynch and his ilk are occult experts.

If the reader is familiar with Cinema Symbolism 3, then they should know Midsommar (2019) is a morbid retelling of The Wizard of Oz (1939) eighty years later. Ergo, the conspicuous airplane turbulence in the former is a throwback to the tornado in the latter. Just as a violent twister whisks Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland, 1922-1969) to a magical yet foreboding land, a bumpy flight speeds Dani Ardor (Florence Pugh) to a beautiful yet saturnine landscape accordingly. I can’t believe I did not pick up on this one earlier.

Then there is the solar tapestry woven around Elvis Presley’s (1935-1977) life that I analyzed in my last movie book. I thought I had nailed everything, only to recently learn the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll purchased Graceland in mid-March ’57, a few days before the vernal equinox when daylight and warmth overcome darkness; thus, Elvis’ heliacal career was on its way symbolized by his opulent estate. He married Priscilla (née Wagner) on May 1st, 1967. Beltane is midway between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice when daylight triumphs; ergo, it’s only appropriate for the Apollonian musical messiah to take a wife that day. Elvis’ daughter, Lisa Marie, was born on Imbolc, February 1st, 1968, halfway between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox when light continues to gain strength.

On top of that, the sun king’s manager, Col. Tom Parker (1909-1997), was born on June 26th, a mere two days after midsummer when the life-giving orb is at its apex in the northern hemisphere. Thanks to him, Elvis famously began performing at the International Hotel in Las Vegas on Lammas Eve, 1969, midway between the summer solstice and the vernal equinox signifying the forthcoming harvest while honoring the weakening sun. As such, Elvis would entertain audiences at the renowned venue up to the year he perished. However, the King met with the leader of the free world, the thirty-seventh President of the United States, Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994), on December 21st, 1970, the day before midwinter when the sun is annually renewed or born again, signifying his pop culture transcendence.  

How the fuck did I miss these? The answer: ultimately, no one is perfect.

Unlike my other cinema tomes, this preface will be brief as my purpose in writing it is to explain the book’s template, then move on to the good stuff. As with my other volumes, keep an eye out for Easter eggs concealed in the text and image layout. With that, I unveil Cinema Symbolism 4.

Robert W. Sullivan IV, Esq.
Lughnasadh 2022
Baltimore, MD, USA

Copyright 2022 Robert W. Sullivan IV. All Rights Reserved.

[1] G. de Purucker, Occult Glossary: A Compendium of Oriental and Theosophical Terms (London: Rider & Co. Paternoster House, E.C., 1933), 50-51.

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