Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kubrick, "2001", Astrology

For reasons which escape me I'd been fancying to see "2001 A Space Odyssey" again, so bought a used version at the ever reliable Amazon. We watched it this week. "2001" is a movie which really needs to be seen a few times in order to appreciate the layers of meaning, possible allegorical slants and hints it contains. Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick were a bit ahead of themselves with the title date. "2100" might have been a better guess, but sci-fi specialists back in the '60s did tend to be over-optimistic about rates of progress in this mad, mad world. Between 1968, when the movie was released, and 2008, much has changed, but not nearly as much as they envisioned.

After some interesting conversations with the husband about the meaning of some scenes in the film, I searched Google for other opinions. Oh my! Some folks really plumbed the deeper layers. Most theories seem feasible, if one likes searching for embedded messages, and esoteric links.

I shall keep things as simple as possible and say that, in a mini-nutshell, the movie is a depiction of human evolution, past, present and future.

There are a few astrolgical nods in the movie. I guess Kubrick had some astro knowledge. He was a Sun Leo, very appropriate for someone whose career brought the screen to life for his audiences. His Mercury was conjunct Pluto (no wonder there are said to be hidden messages and motifs in this and other movies of his, Pluto loves secrets). His Natal Moon at 12 noon was at 25* of secretive Scorpio, that would fit nicely with the Pluto conjunct Mercury, but if he was born very late in the day Moon might have moved into philosophical Sagittarius - that's still a good fit.

The book upon which the movie is based was written, in collaboration with Stanley Kubrick by Arthur C. Clarke (Sun in Sagittarius sextile Uranus in Aquarius) sci-fi writer, inventor, futurist. It was loosely based on an earlier short story of Clarke's - "The Sentinel".

As for the astrological nods, they can be noted in an article by Jay Weidner "Alchemical Kubrick 2001", the author writes:

" Bowman (referring to astronaut Dave Bowman) is also a name for the constellation Sagittarius. Which is a man with a bow. This on it's own may appear to be uninteresting but one of the great alchemical secrets concerns the position of the center of the galaxy. This point in the sky is found right next to the constellation of Sagittarius. In fact, the Bow-Man of Sagittarius is shooting his arrow right into the heart of the Milky Way galaxy. Bowman represents Sagittarius' arrow as it passes through the center of the galaxy. This is also echoed later in the 'Beyond the Infinite' sequence where Bowman witnesses an exploding galaxy. "

"Kubrick uses alchemical allegories through out the film. The obvious analogies are the celestial alignments that proceed each of the alchemical transmutations in the film. The second main allegory is that it is a black stone that initiates these transmutations. Again this mirrors the alchemical lore about the black stone causing the transmutation of the alchemist. "

"....... every time the monolith, the magical stone, appears in the film there is also a strange, beautiful, celestial alignment occurring. And one must also remember that every celestial alignment in the film is followed by a visit from the monolith, that is, except for one. That would be the lunar eclipse that occurs at the very beginning of the film."

Celestial alignments preceded man's enlightenment in Kubrick's movie. I wonder if life will imitate art? When's the next beautiful celestial alignment due?

Here's another idea: using astrolgical doctrine and the four Fixed Signs as "monoliths", one could say that the film follows the progression of humans from their dawning, at Taurus, first Fixed Sign (the apes & tools/weapons) through development to their zenith at midheaven, Leo (the astronauts), onward to Scorpio(once the tools took over and had to be discarded), plumbing the depths of doubts... leading to understanding, and finally into Aquarius having gained knowledge, enlightenment. Then... re-birth. Alternatively the life cycle from Aries to Pisces ccan be used to describe the evolution, but it doesn't provide "the monolith", the angles.

We humans are somewhere around midheaven now, not ready to discard our "tools". We've a few long steps to go before the next monolith is due!


anthonynorth said...

The benchmark for sci fi movies, this. Indeed, all the best sci fi deals in esoteric concepts and myth.

Twilight said...

Yes, AN - this one is The Best, in my opinion.

They seem to have lost interest in quality sci-fi in movies nowadays.
You'd think there'd be so much scope in that genre, with technology now available, but they prefer to do re-makes.

Wisewebwoman said...

Brilliant movie, T. "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" doesn't hold up as well. I watched it recently and should have left it in the vault.
PS (off topic). I saw an image of Joan Rivers the other day and was once again appalled at the destruction of her face. There is no character left in it. I'm by no means an admirer of hers but wonder if these drastically plasticized formaldehyded "stars" (men and women) have any astral connection? Steve Tyler, Kenny Rogers, Mary Tyler Moore, et al.
PSS Remember the "Picture of Dorian Gray"?

Twilight said...

WWW~~ They're not in the same league, those 2 movies, are they ?
"Encounters" is entertaining, but once is enough.

We were at the cinema last night and one of the trailers advertised a re-make of "The Day The Earth Stood Still" -GRRRR! We both said, in unison "They can't do THAT!"


That's something I'll look into, WW (the facelift brigade). Good idea for a post if it throws up some thing astro-wise.
An overload of vanity will be at the bottom of it, I suppose.
Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) is another who spoiled his face by messing with surgery. He looked just fine before, too.