Saturday, January 09, 2010

Stairway to Sirius: (Even More) Serious Mysteries

When I wrote about my struggle with conscious and unconscious symbolism the other day, I was referring to this post, based on the season finale of the Showtime series Californication.

The series itself is a little farkakte, a little Star Trek-ie, in that the 40-somethings running around present-day LA doing the old 70s hedonism bit doesn't really ring true. Neither does the fact that the fine young beauties of Southern California (some in their teens) find an unemployed alcoholic who's pushing 50 so sexually irresistible.

But it's all very broad, and doesn't expect much in the way of suspended disbelief in the way an Entourage might. And it has a great cast- David Duchovny in the lead as Hank, Evan Handler as his hapless sidekick Charlie, the spunky Pamela Adlon as Charlie's trainwreck of a wife and the luminous, magnetic Celtic faerie queen Natascha McElhone playing Duchovny's lady love Karen, a pairing just oozing with Synchromystic resonance. Which will lead us right back to the main thesis of part one. Just you wait.

But this is one of those instances where some very strange and fascinating symbolic hijinks ensure, pointing in some very familiar directions without a whiff of intent. Or conscious intent, I should say.

The pilot episode opens with a dream- set in Hollywood Forever cemetery. Our POV is from behind the gate, of this final resting place of some of Hollywood's biggest stars. We'll see a lot of water in this episode, from the sprinkers, swimming pools and other sources.

This being LA we see a lot of palm trees, giving us the requisite Phoenix connection. It's important to not that this variety of palm, which has become such an LA icon, is not actually indigenous to California. They were imported.

As you'd expect, Hollywood Forever has a lot of Egyptian revival architecture, and Hank pulls up in front of this tomb, featuring the old UFO winged sundisk icon. Note the artificial lagoon as well.

Later we follow Hank into the Vista Theatre, which is another Egyptian revival masterpiece. This bit of comedy takes place beneath another flying disk. This is purely extraneous to the story- just typical art director eye candy. Hank is taunting a guy in front of him who's talking on a cell phone while Hank is trying to watch the film based on his novel.

But lo and behold we see more extraneous symbolism- the antagonist is wearing a caduceus on his back. So we go from flying disks to DNA- more appropriate to Duchovny's previous gig in The X-Files than a bawdy sex comedy. The cell phone and the Caduceus both resonate Mercury, but in a way I can't really make sense of. If there's some hidden message being conveyed here, I'm not decoding it.

But it gives me an opportunity to drop another Francis Crick quote on you: "DNA was brought here in a aliens."

Back to Californication- Hank is seduced a freaky chick in a bookstore who likes to punch her sex partners in the face while orgasming. She then turns out to be Mia, the 16 year-old daughter of Karen's fiancee. The whole tableau has a Nephthys whiff to it, which Duchovny is certainly no stranger to.

After Hank discovers Mia's age and identity, he's sent into a reverie of regret which is accompanied by a cover version of- wait for it- Elton John's 'Rocket Man.' I couldn't help but think of Temple's theories of the Nommo, hibernating up in the deep reaches of Saturnian space while these lyrics wafted up:

I miss the earth so much I miss my wife
It's lonely out in space
On such a timeless flight

Then I thought of some of the other love stories with incongruous symbolism tying back to the alien bioengineers gods of olden myth, many of which have to do with separation (the old 'boy loses girl' trope).

Let's fast forward to the recent season finale ('Mia Culpa'). We're back in another dream scenario - Hank drunkenly floats in a pool while his recent conquests swim around him like mermaids.

Or should I say Sirens (read: 'Sirians')? Water symbolism again, resonating Sirius and Oannes and all of the rest of the memes I've been advising people to keep an eye out for.

The villainous Mia reappears as well. She stole the book Hank wrote about their tryst, published it under her own name and score a big hit with it. But her agent/boyfriend Paul discovers the fraud, and wants to arrange some James Frey/J.T. Leroy reveal on Oprah, which would destroy Hank's relationship with Karen- and probably his life and career. So Mia (short for Maria) would be the cause of the Great Separation in the show's plotline.

Now I admit that you look at all of this wacky stuff enough there's a danger that your eyes will start playing tricks on you, but look at Mia's pendant and tell me... that a square-and-compass she's wearing? If so, where does that fit into the narrative? The whole idea of it being identified with the show's villain who "stole the book" is certainly fascinating.

Anyhow- there's a confrontation and we end up back in the water, where Hank whales on Paul. Very cathartic- and satisfying- scene. But Paul's having none of it and calls the cops. The Great Separation is just around the corner...

...and here we see Karen crowned with the old five-pointed star as Hank breaks the bad news -- a star composed of five interlocking tetrahedrons, no less.

Sure enough, we go out into the streets of Venice (read: Venus- more Hathor resonance) outside Hank's apartment. Check out the grafitti- "Dog Town", Venice's unofficial nickname. Interesting juxtaposition after that star we just saw, no? reminds me of that film Lords of Dogtown. Who was the star of that film again?

Even better, there are two dogs there, reminding us that the 'dog star' Sirius is actually a binary star. The song playing behind all of this drama? 'Rocket Man' again, this time the Elton John version. Fascinating.

Now, here's where it gets really weird. As the cruiser takes Hank to jail the camera pans up into the sky. And who do we see out there in the Heavens above Dogtown?

The Sirens.

The episode ends back in the dream, with Hank submersed in that deep blue water. Rockets, stars, dogs, mermaids- quite a heady brew. Do I think any of this is intentionally (meaning consciously) tied into this Sirius narrative?

No, not at all. I could certainly be wrong, but the level of writing on this show- and the audience that it's going for - gives me no reason to believe the producers are doing anything but creating a sex comedy and tossing in some of the weird symbolism you might find in the shops on Melrose for purely decorative purposes. But that is not to say that powerful unconscious currents may not be at work.

That being said, I can't escape the whole juxtaposition of two of the most Synchromystically-resonant actors in history appearing together in this show. We have Fox Mulder, of whom nothing more need be said. And then we have Natascha McElhone, who played the Scully-nun in NBC's Revelations miniseries, but more importantly appeared with George Clooney in James Cameron's Steven Soderbergh's Solaris remake as Rheya ("Earth Mother") another of the great separation dramas we've looked at here. More on that film later.

But let's look at George Clooney, aka Danny Ocean. Getting back to our secret war-thesis in part one, has anyone noticed how often Clooney plays someone working in intelligence? And even the Oceans 11 films seem more like spy films than heist films. This scene here is typical- Clooney plays a doublecrossed CIA agent confronting Christopher Plummer, whose character is a transparent Donald Rumsfeld stand-in. What film is this?


Or should I say Siriusiana?

UPDATE: I just realized the vibe that struck about the Sirius stuff during the election- it was like these people were in on some joke that we were not. Like they knew what was going on and were yukking it up with the dog being a major issue, and all of the business about Obama being the man for "serious times."

I guess the question remains- what's the punchline?



  1. Can't seem to find the 720p version of Episode 1 to zoom in on that necklace on Mia. I think it should look more clear in that HD version.

  2. Don't forget McElhone's key role in "The Truman Show"...

  3. Wait - I thought the Christopher Plumber character from SIRIANA was supposed to be James Baker.

  4. Chris -

    I added a comment to a previous post, where I tried to articulate the oppressive mystery as to WHY this imagery wells up in dopey NON-mythological movies. Your outline about CALIFORNICATION is the exact reason I follow your writing!

    I have wondered about the creative process and how this stuff happens. I really feel there is a deep mysterious power to the role of the artist. And the production of a Hollywood movie entrains a lot of different creative types, all working together. On some unknown level, there simply HAS to be something that happens with all that energy focused on one goal.

    People sit together in a script meeting and bounce ideas off each other - then a writer (or a team of them) put it on paper - and the art director reads the text and comes up with visual concepts - and on and on - and eventually, and entire gang of collaborators each add their little ideas and input.

    Why is this process any different than a circle of robe-wearing initiates all chanting to Oden with the hopes of unlocking hidden knowledge?

    Maybe the creative team of film industry cohorts are unwittingly conjuring up exactly the stuff that you've enumerated in this post.

    (just a thought)

  5. The creative process is the greatest Mystery of all. You open yourself up to completely unknowable influences. Alan Moore said it was the mystery of creativity that turned him to ritual magic.

    I have no reason to believe or disbelieve) that engaging in the creative process is or is not somehow circumvented or augmented by external forces beyond our imaginings. In many ways that what's this blog is about. It may well turn out that the human brain is a biocomputer and the programming for it is encoded in our DNA. And it may well be accessible to a kind of wireless network controlled by personages unknown.

    It would certainly explain Jack Kirby.

  6. When are you going put this in to practice?
    There's not supposed to be "everyday life",
    for any One wishing ascension on the world.

  7. Talking about winged Caduceus?

  8. wow, my brother loves this show and i find it hard to pull myself away and do something else. But i am not convinced. This is intentional in my opinion as with most stuff you point out. Nice try tho trying to throw the bloodhounds off your scent. But i can see more how the myths speak for themselves, cuz you take it to another level as for me watching this stuff it seems pretty ordinary until someone like you says something about, "this means this or that."

  9. Thought you might appreciate this from today's news...

  10. That winged caduceus is awesome. Another neoclassical masterpiece.

    Justie- Well, it could be. But in order to make those kinds of statements you have to back them up with evidence. And in the context in the show, these are random little blips that I've only noticed - and tie together- because it happened to tie into things I've been looking at lately. There isn't a single shred of context in the storyline, which is just a sex comedy.

    And you hit it- symbols are just symbols until they are interpreted. A tree makes vibration when it falls in the forest but no sound, since sound is the interaction of vibration and an eardrum.

  11. ARC- Cool link. A lot of that going on these days, eh?

  12. i can make those kinds of statements w/out evidence cuz i juss did. I like to do that. All kidding aside, i say stuff like that cuz i like to think that some people operate on that level. Thats why i liked smoking weed so much, in my paranoia, everything becomes much more interpretive.

    And thats why i like what you do so much since i been tryin to quit the ganja you have helped show me how i can do that w/out smoking. Its like meditating. Good looking out.

  13. Always glad to be of service, my friend.

  14. What ever happened to those "blue-dog" democrats?

  15. This show is also almost WORSHIPFUL of the phallus. Especially in the dialog.

    And there's another Clooney connection of sorts. Pamela Adlon (formerly Segall) dropped off camera for a while after being a successful kid actor. She turned to voice work and became the voice of Bobby Hill on King Of The Hill. She did almost no on-camera work for years as she raised a family.

    It was her old friend, George Clooney who brought her back. They worked together on the E/R sitcom for CBS years before he coincidentally became the star of the NBC drama, also called ER. George put her a little series he produced for HBO called Unscripted, where she played herself. Her career was resurrected. She went from there to Lucky Louie to Californication, where she has become very close friends with Duchovny.

    Just some meaningless trivia for you.

  16. Au contraire- that's quite meaning-ful trivia. Thank you.

  17. Hey, Let's Get Sirius!,
    Let's get Sirius; Let's get Serious and fall in Lurve....'
    Sorry, just couldn't help myself on that one.

    Jermaine Jackson » Tracks
    Let's Get Serious (3:34)

    That's who sings that, tho he sounds just like Stevie Wonder.

    Anyhoo, are not the Artists of Hollywood/Holyrood the Shamans of the moment?
    Also, Jupiter in Aquarius bouncing/conjuncting Neptune in Aquarius means Vivid and Humanity- Changing Dreams, well according to my small understanding. Whatever, the bounderies of travel and consciousness are under duress/pressure/change/Transition.
    Aleyluja and Good Luck,people.
    Also, Neptune = drugs/beyond limitations/boundaries/nebulousness
    and Jupiter is Joy/expansiveness/idealism/travel/academia etc .

    Always nice to read your blog Chris.

    Floss/Davina xx

  18. Just finished listening to the rest of that Robert Temple interview and Holy Cthulhu Batman! were those Dogons reading up on Lovecraft back in the day? In their mythology they've got a race of ancient ocean dwelling humanoids who are sleeping in suspended animation somewhere out in space, waiting for the time to be right to return and RULE earth once more - 'The day of the fish' as they call it!!!

    I'm sorry but this 'coincidence' is too creepy for words. Makes you wonder what Lovecraft REALLY knew.

  19. The necklace item is an Oregon Agate cut in half. I have dozens of them. My friends uncle Lee used to cut them and sell them. I ended up with about 100 of them after he passed on. Translucent they are. Dennis. There may be one with some symbology created by earth forces. Dennis

  20. Connecting the dots...

  21. Davina- Ah, juicy astrological tips. Any word when Cancerians will get the cosmic boulder off of our shoulders? It's going on 9 years now.

    Astronut- Oh, I bet that Lovecraft read Berossus, where our ancient knowledge of the Nommo comes from. Then there's the whole issue of his extraordinarily potent unconscious mind.

    Dennis- Excellent. Thanks for that.

    Excepter- Is that your band? That's a very cool video!

  22. Christopher,
    Apologies if I'm tooting our own horn, here, but the syncs got to me. The director and I were college pals together all very obsessed with the Sirius mysteries. When my band visited Los Angeles where he lives, he suggested shooting a video based around the band visiting the major cool tourist destinations of Hollywood. While looking at the shoot plan on a map I noticed they were in a star-formation. Curious how they all involve either Egypt, stars, or pre-history. From the cradle to the grave ...
    either way, big fan of the site.

  23. Speaking of mermaids.

  24. I don't think the symbolism you notice in Californication is that far out. In season 2, I noticed some similar symbolism. Hank (Duchovny) and Karen have decided that L.A. is bad for their relationship and have decided to move back to NY. When Hank lands himself in jail he meets Lew Ashby. Lew Ashby is wearing a black Motley Crue t-shirt complete with pentagram and Hank is wearing a white t-shirt. The t-shirts, IMO, are significant in the respect that they depict the relationship between Hank and Ashby of light vs. dark. Without getting into too much detail, Ashby convinces Hank to stay in L.A. and write his biography which actually turns out to be a bad thing for Hank and Karen's relationship.