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  Alchemical Kubrick

Art Posted by <Xnoubis> on Thursday January 18, @01:35PM
from the stanley-yes-but-i-like-it-too dept.

Is there any magician who didn't “get” 2001: A Space Odyssey? Still, it might be time to attempt to put some of the esoteric implications of that masterpiece into words. Jay Weidner gives it a try with his “Alchemical Kubrick///2001: A Space Odyssey,// The Great Work -- On Film”.

The essay should have been better. Aside from needing a good copy-editing job, it makes many misstatements about the traditions covered, and goes on to relate almost every episode in the film whether pertinent or not. (By no means read it if you haven't seen the movie!) And yet, he covers most of the important points, and adds a few that I, at least, hadn't thought of.

I completely agree with him that it is the most important statement about humanity's development ever put to film.

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**Re: Alchemical Kubrick**
by <Malgwyn> on Monday January 22, @01:47AM

A few problems come up immediately. What can the compound “Gnostic Alchemical” mean? The permutations are staggering.

Zarathustra/Zoroaster isn't the “G-D” of the Zoroastrians, he is their prophet.

I'm fairly familiar with Fulcanelli, and I've ran accross Jay Weidner's “A Monument to the End of Time” before, in concert with the Rennes le Chateau mystery of “Holy Blood Holy Grail” fame. Fulcanelli is an interesting read, there is a certain amount of insight to his work but a greater amount of mystery. It would be easy to dismiss him as another mystical charlatan if it wasn't for the fact that he made some incredible demonstations that held up. He demonstrated a forgotten method of tinting glass without adding pigment, that had been lost since the middle ages.

Jay's interpretation of 2001 says more about him than it does Kubrick's work. I don't find 2001 to be particularly alchemical in symbolism.
I don't agree that the monolith is cogent with the philosopher's stone , the raw matter of the work is often black, but the finished “stone” is white(Parzifal exempted, where Lapis Exilis is green), Nor are the Philosophical Stone and the Elixir or “Powder of Aquisition” identical, the Stone is usually a prerequisite to the latter..

The Lapis Exilis is more relevent, even if it isn't as alchemical, and it certainly draws comparison to the stone of Mecca. The obsidian mirror of John Dee might have some relevence as well.

  • |Re: Alchemical Kubrick\\
    by <Xnoubis> on Monday January 22, @05:02PM

    > Jay's interpretation of 2001 says more about\\
    > him than it does Kubrick's work.\\
    It seems to me that, while the author's knowledge of esoteric systems is sketchy, his intuition is pretty close to the mark. He wants to characterize 2001 as pertaining to the Great Work, which I've always believed. I also agree that Kubrick must have done this intentionally. Weidner may not know who Zarathustra is, but he's surely correct that the connection between Nietzsche's work and the film is more than just the name of the theme song.\\
    He also identifies the emotionlessness of the episodes around Heywood Floyd at the moonbase as being a commentary about the present condition of man. I agree, but it seems to me that it Heywood in particular who is emotionally cut off, and that you can see the emotional damage that he's inflicting on those around him if you look closely.\\
    Weider goes on to observe that Bowman's entrance into the monolith is humanity's initiation. That's really the core point, isn't it? I think that sense of the movie depends on whether or not the viewer grasps this. It couldn't be more plain to us, but how many people have you known who never understood what all the fuss was about over 2001?\\
    I didn't make the connection about the eclipses before I read this piece, but it sounds right. The Bowman/Sagittarius connection might be a stretch, but then again, it might not be.\\
    Then there's this idea that the movie is structured around the Kabbalistic four worlds. Weider doesn't really provide a satisfactory explanation of this, but he gives us enough information to piece it together ourselves. Assiah is the “dawn of Man” section that takes place on Earth (Malkuth). Yetzirah is the moon station section (Yesod). Briah is the journey that was supposed to have been to Saturn (Binah). And the Crowned and Conquering Child reigns in Atziluth/Kether. Did Kubrick intend this? Maybe not, but the original intention to film the journey to Saturn (rather than Jupiter) suggests that he might at least have been thinking of the Crossing of the Abyss.\\
    Lastly, I had never thought of the movie as the monolith, but I love it. As a reality check, though, the monolith (at least in the book) had the proportions 1x4x9. Does a cinerama screen really have the proportions 4×9, as Weider seems to assert?\\

**Re: Alchemical Kubrick**
by Tau Aleph on Tuesday January 23, @10:11AM

The first time I saw 2001 after having studied Qabalah, I came away with a similar conclusion to that of the author of this article.

First, I noted the thrown bone to space station transition. At the time, having been misled by Kenneth Grant, I believed that the cross in the circle was the Mark of the Beast. The connection I made was a mark in the sense of an achievement - having made one's mark. The ape-men had just made such an achievement, had learned something that would never be forgotten, but which marked the boundary of man's accomplishment. Each new development would surpass that mark, but set a new mark to be surpassed in the future. This continually setting and surpassing of the mark was the process which brought into being the space station. It is also interesting to note that the letter Tau means “A Mark”, and Tau is the path from Malkuth to Yesod, the earth to the moon.

Next, we find ourselves on the way to the moon. We are climbing the Tree. While the physical planets Venus and Mercury are not involved, there are lots of symbolic references to them throughout the trip to the moon, and the beginning of the journey to Saturn (unfortunately, the book and movie don't agree on the destination). The Mercury references do predominate: floating pen, dome which retracts in eight slices, communications issues, games of chess, etc. There are also Venusian references, though I can't enumerate any at the moment. In any case, it seemed to me that there were so many qabalistic innuendos in this section of the movie, that it just had to be intentional.

Breezing over the Sol references (during the harmonious part of the mission before the conflict begins to develop), the conflict itself is clearly Martial (with a Pluto/Scorpio element to the secrecy which leads to HAL's breakdown).

In the book (I think), Jupiter is used for a gravity swing-around, and the final destination is Saturn.

I'm really surprised that Jay didn't point out the Abyss correlations of the subsequent developments. The rational mind has to be disabled (Bowman removing HAL's memory modules), and Dave has to choose between staying put in his known world and waiting for an uncertain rescue, or jumping off into the unknown - crossing the Abyss, becoming a Babe of the Abyss. Pay attention to the Binah/Chokmah transitions as he journeys through the Abyss and finally becomes an Old Man (archetypal symbol of Chokmah), only to become a Babe at the end (Kether, New Beginnings).

The Monolith? black solid: Binah; standing stone: Chokmah. And the Stars! Nothingness with twinkles, but what twinkles!

Sorry to ramble, but since I would have to watch the movie again to make a more detailed and accurate presentation (which I don't really have the time for), I just wanted to give some pointers for another approach to viewing it in association with the Great Work…

Tau Aleph
Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis

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