Cinema Symbolism 2: More Esoteric Imagery in Popular Movies

From the Preface….

Cinema can also be prophetic: Thomas “Neo” Anderson’s passport expires (or dies) on September 11, 2001, seemingly anticipating the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The Matrix reference is particularly disturbing considering the film is about beginning and end, death and rebirth. During the opening credits of 2000’s The Patriot, Benjamin Martin’s (Mel Gibson) handmade wood rocking chair weighs exactly 9 pounds 11 ounces. When he sits on it, the chair collapses causing Martin to come crashing down. The horrors of September 11, 2001, can also be found in 1981’s Escape from New York where an Al-Qaeda-like terrorist organization called the National Liberation Front seeks to strike a blow against American imperialism by crashing an airliner–Air Force One–into lower Manhattan.


Escape from New York one sheet movie poster. Directed by John Carpenter, the film contains stark 9/11/01 imagery thirty years before the terrorist attacks on Lower Manhattan suggesting that Jung’s collective unconscious is not only inherited, but in some instances, foresees future events. Carpenter’s film also employs Gematria: the assignment of number values to letters to forge an occult relationship and/or to convey an occult meaning and/or agenda within the words or phrases. Gematria originated as a Babylonian-Greek system of alphanumeric code-cipher later adopted into Jewish culture. In Carpenter’s movie, the President’s airplane, Airforce One, is designated David 14; David refers to the Bible’s King David, who was the second king of the United Monarchy of Israel and Judah, reigning in ca. 1010–970 BCE. King David is widely viewed as a righteous and effective king in battle and civil and criminal justice; according to the New Testament he was an ancestor of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17, Mark 10:46-48, Luke 3:23-38, Romans 1:1-4, 2 Timothy 2:8, and Revelation 22:1). The number 14 is Hebrew for David (D=4, V=6, D=4; 4+6+4=14) thus David 14 transforms the President (Donald Pleasence, 1919-1995) via his aircraft’s code number into a divine, Biblical lawgiver and a de facto spiritual perfectionist. Thus the President, along with the contents of his briefcase, ensures the survival of Western Civilization.

September 11, 2001, can also be found in the pilot episode of The Lone Gunmen (original airdate 4 March 2001) which involved a government conspiracy to hijack a commercial airliner, fly it into the World Trade Center, and blame the act on terrorists to gain support for a new profit-making war. The Net (1995) anticipated the coming internet revolution where, through the advent of social media in the 2000s, privacy is scarce because everyone’s life is online. The Pentagon and the United States Navy, employing the 2009 movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, subtly announced to the world that an electromagnetic railgun was no longer the domain of science fiction and video games, having developed one not only in the film, but reality as well. The 2009 film Knowing seems to predict the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster of April, 2010 and the 1982 comedy, Hanky Panky, features a Gene Wilder (1933-2016) character named Michael Jordon. Jordon is from Chicago anticipating the rise to stardom of basketball superstar Michael Jordan who was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1984, a mere two years later. Could it be that Jung’s collective unconscious is not only inherited, but it also predicts (or anticipates) the future? Or could there be a dark conspiracy at work here; put another way, is this imagery evidence of predictive programming or, alternatively, is this art imitating life imitating art? Is there an Illuminati-like order that runs Hollywood and if so, are hidden symbols and themes in movies part of their secret and sinister agenda? What about the government’s involvement with Hollywood? It seems evident that the 1942 James Cagney (1899-1986) film Yankee Doodle Dandy was government propaganda; the movie is an anti-fascist rallying call to simultaneously whip-up support and quell dissension to America’s involvement in World War II.

From Chapter 8….

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is based upon H.P. Lovecraft’s Miskatonic University, which is a fictional university located in the equally fictitious town of Arkham, which is in the real-life county of Essex in Massachusetts. The university is named after the Miskatonic River, which is also fictional. Miskatonic is highly prestigious, on par with Harvard University, and the two are the most popular schools for the children and descendants of Massachusetts’ old gentry and aristocratic families. ahogwartsMiskatonic University is famous for its collection of occult books, and its library holds one of the few genuine copies of the Necronomicon, which is a fictional grimoire authored by the “Mad Arab” Abdul Alhazred. Accordingly, there is a deep interest and pursuit, both overt and covert, of esoteric knowledge by the Miskatonic’s students just like there is at Hogwarts. The hog in Hogwarts esoterically connects the school with arcane teachings because, as an animal sacred to Diana, it was frequently employed in the Ancient Mysteries as an emblem of the occult arts. An English mystic associated with Rosicrucianism, Sir Francis Bacon employed a hog as his mysterious signature and is thought to have used the animal in some of the works of William Shakespeare, indicating that he is the author and mind behind the sublime works of Shakespeare. For instance, the famous statement from Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor (1602): “Hang-hog is latten for Bacon, I warrant you;” resonates Baconian impression. The devilish Puck, sometimes known as Robin Goodfellow, in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream (1605) says, “I’ll follow you. I’ll lead you about a round, through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier. Sometime a horse I’ll be, sometime a hound, a hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire. And neigh, and bark, and grunt, and roar, and burn, like horse, hound, hog, bear, fire, at every turn,” in Act III, Scene I. Furthermore, honorificabilitudinitatibus mentioned by Costard in Act V, Scene I of Love’s Labour’s Lost (1597) is an anagram for “hi ludi, F. Baconis nati, tuiti orbi,” which is Latin for “these plays, F. Bacon’s offspring, are preserved for the world.” Bacon was a link in that great chain of minds which has perpetuated the secret doctrine of antiquity from its beginning; the cryptic, numinous works of the Bard of Avon are evidence of this. Thus, the identification of Bacon with a hog mystically connects Hogwarts to the magical Rosicrucian scientist, thereby establishing the school as a legitimate inheritor of the Ancient Mysteries.

From Chapter 11…

Nina’s desire to alchemically intertwine her innocence with her Jungian shadow emerges when she steals and proudly displays–like trophies–items that belong to the self-destructive former Swan Queen, Beth Macintyre. Macintyre, who is consumed by her shadow self, attempts suicide after she is forced into an early retirement in favor of the younger Sayers. Beth is confined to a hospital bed, her body torn and ravaged by the moving car she threw herself in front of. She has lost the will to live and is dying, both spiritually and physically. Leroy talks to Nina about Beth’s fatal persona, “Because everything Beth does comes from within, from some dark impulse. I guess that’s what makes her so thrilling to watch. So dangerous. Even perfect at times. But also so damn destructive.” Beth’s self-destructive tendencies are displayed for all eyes to see prior to her being introduced, but the esoteric reference is missed by everyone. At the beginning of the film, when Nina first walks into the New York Ballet Theater, she stops to observe a giant billboard featuring Macintyre captioned, WINTER CLASSICS REINVENTED NEW SEASON MBC FEBRUARY 12. The identification of the date, February 12, beneath Beth’s elegant visage is a concealed homage to Anna Pavlova. Pavlova was a Russian prima ballerina of the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century who was born on 12 February 1881.


(Left) Anna Pavlova as Le Cygne or The Swan, also known as The Dying Swan. (Right) Beth Macintyer banner featuring the date of February 12 signifies Pavlova and identifies Macintyre as the self-destructive dying swan.

Foreshadowing Beth’s suicidal nature, Pavlova is recognized for the creation of the role The Dying Swan which is a ballet choreographed especially for Pavlova by Mikhail Fokine in 1905 to Camille Saint-Saëns’ cello solo Le Cygne from Le Carnaval des Animaux as a pièce d’occasion. The Dying Swan has since influenced modern interpretations of Odette in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and has inspired non-traditional interpretations and various adaptations, including Aronofsky’s film. The February 12 date signifies that Beth is the ruinous embodiment of Pavlova’s Dying Swan. This occult nexus is also confirmed by Black Swan’s end credits which bills Winona Ryder as Beth Macintyre/The Dying Swan.

Cinema Symbolism: A Guide to Esoteric Imagery in Popular Movies

From Chapter 6….

John Dee was a learned mathematician, occultist, astrologer, scientist, alchemist, navigator, and spy; Dee was friends with English spymaster Francis Willingham (ca. 1532-1590) and statesman William Cecil (1520-1598), 1st Baron Burghley. John Dee was the first to coin the term “British Empire” and his imperialistic philosophy was influenced by Georgius Gemistus Pletho (ca. 1355-1452/53), a Byzantine scholar of Neo-Platonic thought and attendee of the Council of Florence (1438 – 1439). Dee was also Queen Elizabeth I’s (1533-1603) court astrologer and psychic adviser who, along with Irish medium Edward Kelley, developed a system of dark sorcery called Enochian Magic that allowed one to communicate with their Guardian Angel via angelic  and demonic spiritual  conjurations. This was accomplished through the art of scrying which is the practice of looking into a translucent ball or other material – Dee used a black mirror – with the belief that entities manifest becoming etheric visions. These devices were employed less often for purposes of divining the future and soothsaying. Enochian is a complex language with solid grammar and syntax having a melodic sound similar to Sanskirt, Greek, or Arabic. Enochian may have also been a secret code that Dee and Kelley used in espionage activities on behalf of Queen Elizabeth I. Each letter of the Enochian alphabet has a numerical value – Gematria – that corresponds to elemental, planetary, and Tarot properties. Dr. John Dee was, like Dominican mystic Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), one of Sir Francis Walsingham’s spymasters; the numerical 007 was Dr. Dee’s cabalistic signature on intelligence correspondences to Queen Bess and is the source of Ian Fleming’s MI6 agent James Bond’s codename Double-O Seven. The actual signature is eyeglasses symbolizing that the correspondence was for “her eyes only” and that he was her “eyes in the field.” Dee’s 007 sigil denotes secrecy and forges a nexus to the phrase “For Your Eyes Only” which is still employed in modern day espionage and spycraft. Exoterically the double zeros, “00,” or double Os give Bond a license to kill placing him outside civil and criminal prosecution. Esoterically, 007 is the concealed link that Elizabethan spymaster Dee is the basis for Fleming’s own secret agent.

The Royal Arch of Enoch: The Impact of Masonic Ritual, Philosophy, and Symbolism

From Chapter 1….

Likewise, Kabbalah is a form of Hebrew occultism. Hebrew theology was divided into three parts: the law, the soul of the law (Mishna) and the soul of the soul of the law: Kabbalah. Only the highest initiates among the Hebrews were instructed in the Kabbalah’s secret principles. Kabbalah – often intermingled with Qabbalah with a “Q” its hermetic first cousin and with Cabala with a “C” which is the Christian form of Hebrew Kabbalah (twining Christian and Hebrew mysticism) and largely a Renaissance phenomenon – is the study of the Sephirotic Tree of Life. It is not uncommon to interchange the “K”, “C”, and “Q” when defining Kaballah. The foundation of Kabbalah is the Zohar – a group of ancient Jewish books about mysticism. The Kabbalah is an oral tradition, allegedly given to Moses on Mount Sinai by God and transmitted to Aaron and other great Hebrew prophets. The Kabbalah was reputedly conveyed along with the Law (Ten Commandments) and the Talmud. Rabbi and Neoplatonist Isaac the Blind (ca. 1160-1235) wrote on Kabbalah and was likely the author of the Book of the Bahir, an important early text on Kabbalah that circulated throughout medieval France. The twenty-two paths and ten Sephiroth of the Kabbalah as understood by practitioners formulate a mystical system where – according to Isaac the Blind – “Ain Soph” or divine consciousness (found beyond the first Sephirot – Kether – or “Crown” meaning above consciousness) could be obtained through various meditations and similar practices. The twenty-two paths connecting the ten Sephiroth when added form the number thirty two which is an esoteric reference to the thirty two paths of wisdom within the Mishna – the “soul of the law” and serve as the symbolic basis for the thirty two degree system of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Add a hidden, unseen Sephirot in the Kabbalah called Da’at (often thought to be the other ten Sephirot united as one) and one has twenty-two paths when added to the eleven Sephirot becomes thirty-three: an occult reference to the thirty-third and final degree of the Scottish Rite called Inspector General. Kabbalah is a secret doctrine and “Kabbalah” is often a synonym for the word “secret.” In turn Christian Cabala interpreted Hebrew Kabbalistc Tetragrammaton – the name of God – as Jesus Christ thus announcing him as the true Messiah. Cabala is a combination of philosophy, theology, cosmology, and white magic to achieve communication with angels and through them Deity. Since Cabala proved that the longed for Messiah was Christ Jesus, the use of magic through angelic powers to obtain a higher godhead was permissible. Cabalah heavily influenced Elizabethan magus Dr. John Dee;  to Dee and other Renaissance Cabalists such as Robert Fludd (Dee’s English hermetic-cabalist successor), Marsilio Ficino, Tommaso Campenella, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, and Giordano Bruno the use of black magic was also permissible. Dr. Dee served as the inspiration for Christopher Marlowe’s (1564 – 1593) and Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s (1749 – 1832)  Dr. Faust or Faustus; Dee is Shakespeare’s Prospero from The Tempest published 1610/1611 and Edgar Allan Poe’s (1809 – 1849) Prince Prospero from The Masque of the Red Death published in 1842.

From Chapter 3….

The Temple of Delphi was built over the cavern where Python’s body lay decaying- it was dedicated to Apollo. Fumes rose from the decomposing corpse of Python beneath temple cavern through the cracks and crevasses. These fumes were inhaled by the famed Oracles of Delphi causing them to frenzy and prophesize. Amun Re/Ra, later Horus – the spiritual, not material sun – was also the “risen” deity representing the sun as it “rises” in the east every morning bringing life, salvation and divine light to the world. In the morning the sun (Amen Ra/Re, Horus) is “born again” as the supreme “Holy Father” defeating the darkness of the night (Typhon), at high-noon at its apex it is a youthful son/sun at full strength, and at evening the sun enters the ghostly underworld beneath the western horizon becoming a “Holy Ghost or Spirit”; the sun thus has three distinct phases: growth, maturity/strength, and decay. To the Egyptians the sun was a symbol of immorality – it died each night only to be born again in the morning reaching full strength at noon. This is where the concept of the divine trinity of “the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” derives from within Christianity – from the Egyptian – as accepted by Jesuit priest Athanasius Kircher (1601/02 – 1680); the word “trinity” does not appear in the Bible. Kircher was a Jesuit honored with the title “master of a hundred arts” who published numerous works on oriental studies, geology, and medicine.  Kircher, a hermetist-cabalist, continued the Renaissance tradition of interpreting Egyptian hieroglyphs as symbols containing divine truths; the hieroglyphs on the obelisk of Heliopolis to Kircher contained the fore-runners of Christian symbology including, among other things, the sun seemingly crucified on a Christian cross. Although one finds frequent reference to both Hebrew Kabbalah – its Sephirot – and Christian Cabala in his works, Kircher condemned the practice of cabalistic magic. He published, among others, Lingua Aegyptiaca Restituta, Obeliscus Aegyptiacus, Obeliscus Pamphilius, Arithmologia sive De abditis numerorum mysterijs, Prodomus coptus sive Aegyptiacus, Rituale Ecclesiae Aegyptiacae sive Cophititarum, Sphinx Mystagoga, sive Diatribe Hieroglyphica, and Turris Babel. These texts were the first real studies of Egyptian hieroglyphs and forged a nexus between the Egyptian religion and Roman culture; the Egyptianizing of Rome itself in other words. In Oedipus Aegyptiacus (1652- 1654) Kircher compared Christianity to the religion and mysticism of Egypt arguing that Christianity’s origins were born out of the Egyptian Mysteries; he also believed that Moses and Hermes Trismegistus were one and the same. At the end of Oedipus Aegyptiacus, just after the hymn from the Pimander with which he concludes, Kircher places a hieroglyph enjoining secrecy and silence concerning these sublime doctrines. And, in effect, in this survival in seventeenth-century Jesuitism of the most enthusiastic type of Renaissance religious Hermetism we have something like another of those esoteric channels through which the Hermetic tradition is carried on, which perhaps explains why Mozart could be a Freemason as well as a Catholic.

**All text on this page is copyrighted by Robert W. Sullivan IV Esq., Copyright Office, Library of Congress. The Royal Arch of Enoch was copyrighted August 2011; Cinema Symbolism was copyrighted November 2013; Cinema Symbolism 2 was copyrighted September 2016. All rights reserved.**