Introduction: First, if you are new to this blog, please be advised that it is generally a synthesis of esoteric ideas, pop-cultural analysis, and a bit of my own life. I may jump from one idea to another quite frequently and/or without warning; this type of narrative may-or-may-not be of interest to you.
Secondly, for context, I originally wrote this particular post on October 7, 2019. I had a rather potent dream last night that seemed to reference some of the symbols discussed here, including the current cinematic incarnation of the Joker & mothers/goddesses. Specifically, I dreamt that a younger version of Arthur Fleck was sucked up by the blades of a powerful fan and literally shredded to bloody bits (much like that scene I believe in the very first episode of LOST with the plane). In a different dream scene, I called out to my Mom, who was hanging out with some friends, and she never heard me; I realized I just had to go off on my own.
What did it all mean?
So a common shamanic trope is that of dismemberment—of “losing one’s head”. And the pun is intentional; as many things in the metaphysical realm are.
Now, this trope is heavily (and quite graphically) used in the movie Hereditary, bringing a sort of cultic element to the proceedings reminiscent of the accusations of heresy levied at the Knights Templar. The Knights were accused—among other things—of worshipping a severed head (strangely, supposedly called “Baphomet”).
The symbolism of the head liberated (again, pun intentional) from the body can, of course, be seen as one’s spirit (theoretically housed in the head/brain) being loosed from the relative bondage of the material body. This does not have to be achieved by such dire acts as literal dismemberment, however…but instead through consciousness alteration via meditation, prayer and or the substance of your choice.
As a related tangent, note how I am writing all this now. I have just woken up (pun intentional), still foggy. I’m not “thinking” as I write this; this writing is not intentional. I have a marketing project to complete, and I am sneaking this little missive in before delving into that “businessy” state of mind.
What I am writing now is about at least 80% FLOW. Which is to say, it is near-automatic. Where are these ideas and sentences coming from, exactly? I’m not consciously mapping out these sentences. I had very little pre-made intentions as to what was going to be written here before I started.
Who is writing this post? I would like to believe it is me; perhaps more of an “unconscious” me, a subconscious me; I could dress it up with some New Age frippery and call it my “Higher Self.”
I’m a Pisces, but that might not truly mean much at all; astrology being (at least to some) a type of voodoo. If such a concept as “past lives” (more New Age frippery) exists, then it is conceivable that we have more than one “sign”—indeed, we may encompass all of the signs. At one “time” or another.
Now, there was an intervening period between me waking up and writing this; I was on my phone scanning the current news as it is interpreted through my associates on Twitter. This was a bit of a terrible mistake; not due to any fault of my associates, but due to the wretched news itself.
And so I’ll tell you how I felt, the jumble of thoughts I had in my even foggier mind earlier this morning. I read about Trump and the Kurds, and thought: wow, this is even worse than I could have anticipated or conceived. We are, (not the royal “We,” but the American We) sort of the “enemy,” now. But that’s misleading, isn’t it? Because these types of shenanigans and geopolitical betrayals have been going on for quite some time before Trump; he’s just “owning” the treachery of it in the most public and arrogant way possible. You’d have to wonder how TPTB before Trump must be reacting to this continual lifting of the veil by the President; it seems very much like ridding the stripper of her fans and scarves, does it not? It ruins the “show.”
Then I saw this woman give a long critical analysis of the Joker movie via Twitter (not my recommended avenue for this sort of exegesis, for many treasons (ha, I meant to write “reasons” but I’ll leave this, it’s funnier), basically saying it was a tool of the white patriarchy legitimizing violence towards females and various people of color. Predictably, a massive amount of white males ganged up on her tweets at the same time to argue that the movie was not legitimizing violence towards females and people of color; they did this by being violent and threatening and racist. Well, y’all convinced me!
Now, I’ve actually had a quite similar experience to this over ten years ago, when I first began pointing out the links between a number of Joker-inspired crimes and the (quite relatively so, in comparison to the current era) violence of The Dark Knight. To “prove” that the movie was not violent—and certainly not inspiring violence—I received threats of violence. I mean, it’s all pretty funny now. Quite a joke. Pun intentional, as per always.
And that all led me on a tangent (I live mostly in the realm of tangents) in which I reflected on the “identity” of most of the powerful mystical-type beings I’ve ever encountered in the dream-realm. I don’t mean the dragons or the elves or any roleplaying shit like that…I mean **powerful beings** that you feel in your bones like **awe** at how powerful they are.
The funny thing is: most of those beings have been entities of “color.” They’ve rarely ever been “white.” They are most usually “African.” (Also, “Indian,” “Asian,” and “Indigenous.”) They are often, though not always, female.
Now, I’ve also run into some entities in my dreams who are “Celtic.” (I put quotation marks around all these designations because who the hell really knows the origins of any of this let’s be perfectly fucking honest). I think a few “Nordic?” But most often: females of color.
Now: this was most certainly not a result of belief systems I might have been exposed to as a child via family. Later on, I discovered that my Mom, who is from Brazil, has some “roots” in indigenous culture via her ancestors (not genetically, but by learning the esoteric culture around them). But that’s it.
These powerful dark-skinned women I see often in my dreams are, I believe, something extremely ancient and potent and not to be fucked with. (It isn’t just that I “believe” it, no…I know it to my bones as an intuitive truth.)
And so we can consider a fearsome figure like Kali. And then there is Isis, a deity so incredibly popular and primal that she eventually became the Holy Virgin Mary and is still worshipped to this day; look up the phenomenon of the “Black Madonnas.”
Along the lines of the Black Madonnas. consider the Thelemic figure of Babalon. She of the red skin; at least, in some interpretations.
You know, it’s very funny; as a very young teenager, I basically “knew” of the figure of Babalon. I mean, intuitively; intuitively, automatically, like I’m writing all of this now. It was a “red” woman of tremendous primal world-ending power. Of course, I connected her to the pop-culture I was devouring at the time…
In fact, in my little memoir I self-published some time ago, I mentioned her a lot. But even I didn’t quite “put it together.”
The powerful female archetype…like the Isis/Mary situation, somewhat “whitewashed” for contemporary audiences. Often twinned with a bird-like symbol (sort of melding the iconography of Isis with her hawk-headed child Horus). We see that in the comic book character Phoenix, and also in far more “hidden” and subversive ways like the protagonist in the Hitchcock movie The Birds (per which I always assumed, as a child, that it was secretly she who brought the frenzied animals to Bodega Bay).
We even see this archetype survive to the most current cinematic era with a movie like Under The Silver Lake, featuring a mythic character called the “Owl’s Kiss,” or, more commonly, the Owl Woman:
The “counterpart” to the Owl Woman in the movie is the equally-mythic “Dog Killer”:
“Dogs” in the film eventually revealed to be symbolism for women. Thus: we have the deadly archetypes of each gender, fitting a neat Hermetic male/female yin/yang balance.
In the movie Joker, there are two main female characters. SPOILERS past this point…
So the first main female character is apparently Arthur Fleck’s disabled mom, whom he eventually murders. She can be roughly analogous, in terms of more primal collective archetypal imagery, as the Mother goddess figure. Who, of course, as I’ve said, is murdered. (It is argued that Fleck kills her “for her own good,” because she’s physically sick and of course also crazy and abused and etc. We can play this game all day.)
Then we have Fleck’s “potential love interest,” played by Zazie Beetz (who was also Domino in Deadpool 2, if you care about such things.). Bolstering up her “goddess” energy, other than she resonates Isis with her young son in tow, is the fact that her name is Sophie—like the powerful Gnostic “Mother Goddess” Sophia.
Arthur hallucinates that he has a relationship with Sophie, eventually going so far as to break into her house. It is rumored that in an earlier form of the a script Arthur kills Sophie outright, but here it’s left “vague” (you know, for “good taste.”)
But then we can go back to Under The Silver Lake (with its similarly hoodie-clad Dog Killer), and see somewhat more of a “fair fight” —if not a tête-à-tête—by the end of the film—between these shadow archetypes of the Male and Female energies.
And certainly, for those comic fans offended by Joker’s more misogynist elements, there will soon be (the quite on-the-nose titled, considering all we’ve discussed so far) Birds Of Prey, featuring (Jared Leto) Joker’s abused former girlfriend Harley Quinn.
And let us remember that recently DC Comics itself canonized beyond a shadow-of-a-doubt that Quinn was a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of the Joker:
Bad branding, perhaps, on the part of DC? Or maybe Peter just doesn’t know what Paul is approving in their comic books.
At any rate…outside of my pop-culture-crit fever dreams and dreams of fevers, there’s quite a lot happening in the world at the moment, is there not? I haven’t even begun to express how I feel about all that, or where I think it is all heading. But I think the Spirits are telling me that I’ve just about used up my quarter for now.
To get me back in the mood for marketing writing, and to sort of put a “bow” on the themes that I’ve expressed in this piece, I present the 2014 music video “Dangerous,” from Big Data:
Now, back to the present. When meditating on the dreams I just had last night, I pulled the following cards:
Clearly, there are mother/goddess themes here, as well as a (Joker?) green.
As for my relationship with my own mom, it is…complicated. I do have a tendency to attract females into my environment who are very abusive (mostly verbally; though I wonder, if given half a chance, some might not try to also rip my eyes out of my head), and I think it stems from this unhealed primary relationship from my youth.
And one of the ideas I had this morning is that those who lack a core positive relationship with one’s mom (and I mean, from childhood-onward) have to, in a way, become their “own” mothers.
As for the symbol of the Joker, I do want to point out that since writing this post last October, I discovered an entire Joker fandom (largely from non-American creators) who give a distinctly “female” aspect to Arthur Fleck (often pairing her/him off with a far larger/masculine Heath Ledger Joker):
Alas, this recent interesting discovery must be grist for another day’s post; as well as trying to learn how to translate Japanese.