Friday, March 07, 2008

Atum Kadmon & The 40 Year Old Virgin, part 1

In Ancient Rome, the priests of the mother goddess Cybele called the Galloi would ritually castrate themselves in honor of her consort, the castrated god Attis. The Galloi were sort of a combination of glam rocker and trannie whore, earning their pay as street musicians or temple prostitutes.

The self-castration ritual carried over into the early Christian era, with many church fathers castrating themselves and becoming eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven. Today we're all expected to sit around and admire their devotion, not realizing that eunuchs were automatically assumed then to be passive sex partners. What that says about the allegedly "celibate" clergy is beyond the mandate of this blog. But it's clear that this was yet another facet of early Christianity taken from pagan sources.

The rites of Cybele and Attis bring us back to Isis and Osiris, who like Attis was associated with vegetation and was himself castrated by his brother Set. And Isis and Osiris bring us to the center of all modern mysteries in the symbolic realm. And floating above them all is Atum, the androgynous god of creation, whose footprints Jake Kotze has labored so diligently to trace.

It's the thesis of The Secret Sun that there are two essential belief systems at work in the world: the exoteric religions of the masses, which are divergent and constantly at odds, and the esoteric beliefs of the Mysteries, which may make concessions to their surrounding myths and beliefs but are essentially harmonious, contiguous and often act in collusion.

And time and again- whether in Christian Mysticism, the Jewish Kabbalah, Alchemy, Rosicrucianism, etc.- you see this androgynous ideal. Conspiracy theorist Alan Watt believes that the ruling elites want to create a hermaphroditic race as part of the reordering of Nature. 

There's certainly been no shortage of hermaphroditic symbolism in the media lately (that whole Wendy's campaign last year comes to mind, or most of the "Fans" tribe on the current Survivor), but I don't think I can sign on to that theory quite yet. And none of this would be surprising to Jung, with his Anima/Animus compensatory archetypes. 

The sequencing of symbols in The 40-Year Virgin, which a lot of people see simply as a dopey comedy, certainly can be seen in a Jungian context, a ritual context of the earth goddess coaxing life from the dying/resurrecting god, or in the context of elite conditioning towards Watt's predicted future. It's your call.

There's that 17 again

Our first look at Virgin dealt with the identifying symbols of the story itself- the Osirian mummy, the Baptist symbolism, etc. But there is so much more. As we will see with many of these Solar love story films, the male figure is the passive figure and the female figure is the initiator. The 40-Year Virgin is no different. We're also going to look at two other central motifs- castration and resurrection- at work in several other films along these lines as well.

But one of those esoteric traditions that venerate an androgynous figure is the Kabbalah, in the form of the Primordial Man, Adam Kadmon. Those who see Egyptian influences on the Kabbalah point to Adam Kadmon as an obvious adaption of Atum.

What is interesting here is that the "40 year-old virgin" in the film is named Andy, which is a pet form of the Greek version of Adam, Andrew. And his age is important in the context of this story since Jewish men were not allowed to study the Kabbalah until they were themselves 40.

The Sages state that it is "only at the age of 40 that the disciple is fit to understand properly the thought of his master," for "40 years is the age of wisdom." That is why, in general, the kabbalists prefer to "transmit" their teaching to disciples who are at least 40 years old. In their opinion, at that age the human soul becomes spiritually mature. The Hebrew word 'neshamah,' soul, confirms this; the letters which compose it also make up the words 'mem shanah,' 40 years.
With all this in mind, next we will take a look at the androgynous symbolism in the film and it's relationship to the esoteric mysteries. It's a long way down this particular rabbit hole.