Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Poetry, Lifetimes and X-Files - Oh My!

I wouldn't have expected to hear Robert Browning quoted in an episode of The X-Files, but in episode 5 of season 4 he was! The episode is titled The Field Where I Died.

Hang on a mo 'til I explain how I come to be posting, yet again, on an X-Files episode.

My intention for today was to scribble a bit about The Pleiades star cluster, aka The Seven Sisters or to astronomy geeks, Messier 45 or M45 - the cluster is located currently on the cusp of Taurus/Gemini. However, after skimming through a variety of ever more fantastical ramblings on the subject, entertaining as they may have been, I decided to give the topic a miss. Then, that same evening we watched the aforementioned episode of X-Files - The Field Where I Died. I enjoyed it. We decided the writers had stitched together ideas from some real life events and characters (Waco, Jonestown, and the Bridie Murphy stories) then added a touch of the ol' X-Files magic. The name of a cult in the episode, reflection of those involved in the Waco and Jonestown events, was The Temple of the Seven Stars. Hmmm - Seven Stars? The Pleiades by any other name? Alrighty then, this has to be my alternative blog post!

The episode opens with Mulder (David Duchovny) reciting words from Paracelsus, a long poem by Robert Browning. The passage refers clearly to the concept of reincarnation. As he speaks, Mulder gazes at two vintage photographs from the time of the US Civil War .

"At times I almost dream
I too have spent a life the sages' way,
And tread once more familiar paths. Perchance
I perished in an arrogant self-reliance
An age ago; and in that act, a prayer
For one more chance went up so earnest, so
Instinct with better light let in by Death,
That life was blotted out — not so completely
But scattered wrecks enough of it remain,
Dim memories; as now, when seems once more
The goal in sight again."

Wikipedia's page, here, outlines the episode's full storyline.

Fascinating stuff - the idea of reincarnation has always intrigued me, even though I'm not sure I can give the concept full credence. The version of reincarnation depicted in this story indicates that not only do our spirits live on in other bodies, time after time, throughout history, but that we associate with the same group of spirits in each incarnation, though in different ways, different "roles". I've come across this idea before - don't recall exactly where....the movie Cloud Atlas was a recent example, but I'm trying to recall something earlier.

Melissa, one of the cult members and a wife of cult leader of The Temple of the Seven Stars, during investigation and questioning by Mulder and Scully, had been displaying periodical lapses into what appeared to be some kind of multiple personality disorder; her voice and attitude would change abruptly and dramatically. Mulder suspects there's more to it than multiple-personality disorder. He feels something mysterious himself, and undergoes deep hypnosis. He discovers that he was once a soldier, Sullivan Biddle, in the Civil War killed in battle while his wife watched. His then wife is now Melissa of the cult. Dana Scully, Mulder's current FBI partner was, back then, his father. He progresses through other lifetimes outlining how Scully and Melissa, and others known to viewers fitted in various "roles". Scully, in another lifetime, was Mulder's sibling, with Melissa playing some other part.....and so on. Later, Scully is able to establish, from documentation, that Sullivan Biddle and his wife Sarah did indeed exist in that area at the time of the Civil War, and the photographs seen in the opening scene were among the records of that period. The soldier's portrait bears an eery resemblance to....yep - Mulder.

It's a romantic notion, and one I want to believe, but can't -not quite. A wee story from my own experience. The first time I met my now husband ("anyjazz"), face to face, was at the airport in Oklahoma City when I ventured to OK for a week's vacation, after having corresponded with him online for quite some time. Husband is in no way given to flights of metaphysical or supernatural fancy, but just about the first thing he said to me after "Hello" and a chaste kiss was along the lines of, "You know I do really think we have met before". (Yeah, I know - classic pick-up line!) I think I mumbled something about other lifetimes, then laughed nervously. Who knows? Maybe I was his mother, father, brother, sister, or the woman who washed his shirts in the 1920s, or a fellow-prisoner on a prison ship from Scotland, sailing to the USA in the early 1700s; or perhaps we were friends as Roman soldiers during the Roman invasion of Britain... don't get me started! Believing or imagining such things could make for a harmless enough pastime. There are far worse things to believe in.

Previous posts touching on reincarnation can be read HERE, HERE and HERE.


Sonny G said...

yes indeed.. past lives are real and much can be learned from them..

mike said...

I can only believe in this life that I currently occupy and I have no true notion of what, if anything, awaits the passing of this consciousness. Whatever it is, I think it's splendid and I have no fear of the outcome.

I do find it curious that there are individuals, many very young children, that vividly recount a past life experience that can be verified anecdotally. Some have details of that previous life that are inexplicable. I'm impressed with past-life hypnotic regression accounts that I've read, too.

There are some faiths that expound on the theme of reincarnation, such as Buddhism. Christianity offers the termination of this life as having a reward of eternal heaven with all of the accoutrements of the earthly living, if the sins don't pile-up, but proffers little to explain how we got here in the first place. Islam with its dancing virgins has the Christian context that this life is one of judgement...kicked from the pearly gates to redeem. Weird, eh?!

I do know that this lifetime encourages me to believe that if there is such a place as hell, this could be it. Not the physical, natural world itself, but the human-human interaction creating a hell. Likewise, I've had encounters of the super-natural, making me a believer of other-worldly activity that I can't logically explain...peculiar premonitions and synchronicities that defy the mundane. There's something quite magical about our existence, whatever the storyline or punchline! Even more intriguing is the new quantum physics, which theoretically substantiates the metaphysical.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - I probably mentioned "Duluth" by Gore Vidal, in one of your previous posts:

"...when residents of the city die, they end up as characters in the TV show, who can in some cases continue interacting with the living through the TV screen. When members of the cast of Duluth, the TV show, die, they become characters in Rogue Duke, a romance novel serialized in the pages of Redbook, the popular women's magazine."

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ I'd love to feel as certain, sonny - but if real, I've no doubt at all that there's some (..ahem) 'learning curve' involved. :-)

Twilight said...

mike ~ This is another of the great mysteries of life (or rather, of death). Mother Nature has decreed that this last mystery of all must remain a mystery, always - and she knows best! :-)

Whether those fascinating tales of past life experiences are evidence of reincarnation, or evidence of something else of which we are not yet even vaguely aware....we can't tell.

I agree that there is definitely something magically mysterious just under the surface of what we currently understand.


(again) ~ I do recall your mentioning "Duluth" once before. That's a really creepy premise for a plot-line! LOL! Now, how about a spin-off from that, one where, as a reincarnation test, there's an American Idol type contest called Human Idol. Spirits must to pass muster before reincarnation can take place. Any off-key or pitchy renditions of how to be Human would send a spirit off to be mentored and coached before re-entry to the Madhouse of Life. ;-)

LB said...

Twilight ~ Ooh, that X-Files episode sounds intriguing. My husband and I used to watch the show until too many mind-numbing twists turned us off.

Ever see the movie, "Dead Again"? Now that was a good twist! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVt2h_UMnr0

As far as reincarnation goes, I'm with Sonny. You know what they say about being doomed to repeat any history we don't learn from.

Some Christians believe in reincarnation too. Among Christ's followers, there are probably as many different beliefs (and ways of interpreting Christ's message of love and compassion) as there are Christians.:)

Twilight said...

LB ~ We started from season 1 and are making our way through the long-lived series. One or two episodes have been a bit too scary for my taste, but most are anywhere from mildly entertaining, sometimes even quite funny, to absolutely fascinating! No mind-numbing has occurred yet..lol! I understand that quality does go downhill a bit after season 4 though.

I haven't seen "Dead Again" but will certainly look for a VHS of it on e-bay. From what I've gathered it's not available for streaming on Netflix or on any other outlet.

On reincarnation I shall remain a "don't know" who "wants to believe" :-)

LB said...

If memory serves me, we made it through several seasons of X-Files before losing interest.:)

Anonymous said...

... One afternoon while eating ...

"Hey Mom, look over there."
- "I don't see anything?"

"Shouldn't Agent Mulder be at that table?"
- "Isn't that ... What's her name?"

"Ya ... Her character only lives a block from you.

... Mom wasn't alive for season VI


Twilight said...

Anonymous/kidd ~ Oh! What a lovely memory that must be, of your mother.