The reboot of Bond with Casino Royale in 2006 marked a new era for the now second biggest film legacy in history (now surpassed by Harry Potter). Bond was revamped in a new, slick way, beginning with the first of Ian Fleming’s stories, Casino Royale. The film differs slightly from the novel, but only in details. However, the esoteric associations and “conspiratorial” elements have changed, coming more into line with an overall archetypal narrative that is evident in the three newest Bonds. Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall, are replete with alchemical and death-burial-resurrection motifs. This differs from the novels, which are more simplistic, although the novel Casino Royale does mention Manichaean dualism.
Casino Royale is about Bond’s transformation from a standard agent into a heartless killer. The film begins with a flashback to Bond attaining “00” status, meaning he has killed twice. In a way, the entrance into Bond’s full-fledged assassin status functions as his initiation. Indeed, the three films function as a process of Bond’s own psyche being alchemically “purified” to let go of all his attachments, attaining what might be called in the Greek ascetic tradition, apatheia. The dross of Bond’s desire for a woman to complete him is his weakness in Casino Royale. Bond has killed twice and made “00,” but he still desires emotional fulfillment in the opposite sex. But in M’s mind, Bond must learn a crucial lesson: he cannot trust anyone, not even her.
Thus, Bond’s “00” status was attained through the ritual sacrifice of two criminals, leading to the confrontation of Bond’s own internal weakness: his shade, embodied in LeChiffre, and ultimately in Vesper Lynd. In this way, we see yet another link between the world of secret intelligence work and the religio-mystical-esoteric as has often been mentioned in my essays: Not only do both traffic in hermetic information, both are structured hierarchically to include grades and degrees that one ascends after various tests, trials, and sacrifices. Just as a hierophant was once a neophyte, so too must Bond ascend from the role of agent to “00,” reporting to his “Mum,” the enigmatic and matronly M, played by Dame Judi Dench. If anyone doubts this, recall that Ian Fleming was steeped in esoterism and comparative religion, as well as running numerous intelligence operati0ns for the British Naval Psy Op division. Ian MacIntyre in For Your Eyes Only and Philip Gardiner in The Bond Code delve into these issue in more depth for those interested.
Following the introductory montage of Bond and a lot of playing cards, LeChiffre is shown funding “freedom fighters” in Uganda. Presumably these are communistic freedom fighters, as the history of such movements in Africa and Latin America were associated with Soviet support. This does fit with the novel’s picture of LeChiffre, since LeChiffre worked for SMERSH, the Soviet anti-spy agency. I wrote concerning LeChiffre in my Casino Royale novel analysis:
“In the beginning, however, Bond is not after SMERSH, but a wealthy, disfigured rogue who stuck out on his own and created a “fifth column” from SMERSH, named LeChiffre. LeChiffre translates as “the cypher,” letting us know more is at work here. LeChiffre, according to Bond writer Ian MacIntyre, was based on British Satanist/occultist Aleister Crowley.
In fact, Ian Fleming, it has recently been claimed by researcher Anthony Masters, was responsible for crafting the plot to lure Rudolph Hess to Scotland based on a bogus astrological chart that tickled Hess’ fancy, created by Crowley. The plot worked, apparently, and Hess parachuted into Scotland and was captured. LeChiffre, “the cypher,” has curious features, and like many Bond villains a strange sexual appetite and fixation, in the same vein as Crowley.”
This association of LeChiffre with the occult and espionage underground reinforces the above idea. Of particular relevance, LeChiffre in the new film has a mutilated eye that cries blood. The so-called “Illuminati” imagery is here evident, inasmuch as classical scholars posit that the all-seeing eye does relate to ancient sun-serpent worship (See “The Mystery of the Serpent” in The Mysteries: Papers From the Eranos Yearbooks, pg. 220). Remember that the eye symbology is polyvalent: it can be used for different things, as well as functioning on multiple levels. In this situation, the application of the importance of the eye to LeChiffre would make sense, from an occult perspective. Crowley was often pictured with the eye in the triangle, yet we can see an obvious juxtaposition here. In real world espionage, Crowley worked for MI5 as an asset, yet the association of Crowley with LeChiffre shifts the “villainy” of the notorious sorcerer to the Soviets. Such was the standard SIS tactic of Fleming’s propaganda. It is also significant that it is LeChiffre’s left eye, indicating the “left hand path” of the relativized morals of the Bond universe, where LeChiffre represents the “evil” side of the cryptocracy, with Bond occupying the “good” side, under the legitimate government of the queen.
While LeChiffre funds an uprising, he simultaneously makes a call to his broker to sell a million puts on Skyfleet, an amorphous airline. We get the impression LeChiffre plans a terror event that will in some way benefit his selling of the put options. In terms of esoteric analysis, this begins to look strikingly like the events prior to 9/11 that those “in the know,” know about. Prior to the terror events of that day, numerous puts had been placed on United Airline stocks, resulting in much speculation as to clear prior knowledge on the part of many in the power structure. As you can see from this mainstream report, the establishment blames “rogue traders.” Absurdly, the report purports the laughable line that the retard phony terrorists lurking in caves in Afghanistan were the masterminds behind not only the amazingly complex black operation of 9/11, but also the put options and insider trading. Why, Al Qaeda is virtually omnipotent and omnipresent! And in the narrative of Casino Royale, that is exactly what LeChiffre attempts to do, as he has engineered a bombing to occur on the release of a new prototype plane to be unveiled by Skyfleet.
This is a killer example of throwing it in your face, or revelation of the method, but after the fact. Since the issue of insider trading on 9/11 was never solved or dealt with, and the public basically forgot about what occurred, the incident has gone down in the record of the greatest hits of the cryptocracy, only to be rehashed and unveiled to a drunk and asleep public. The terror state continues unabated, with constant revelations of mass surveillance that only further stupefies the zombies. Ironically, zombies also come up in Casino Royale, as Bond foils the terror plot of LeChiffre by killing Dimitrios at Body World, LeChiffre’s Greek associate. The Body World Exhibit is interesting, because it seems to be out of place in the slick, ritzy aesthetic of the rest of the film. Body World seems to evoke a “world” of frozen corpses, seemingly engaged in daily activities, yet dead. Bond and Dimitrios roam freely amongst these zombies: they are those “alive” among the dead, aware of what is really happening. They are awakened, yet on different sides of the coin, so to speak. On another level, this is Bond’s descend into the underworld, as Body World evokes a sense of hellish macabre. This will be relevant later, as all three films represent the death, underworld, resurrection motif.
As another element of predictive programming, Bond is microchipped so that M can “keep and eye on him.” Microchipping the populace has long been the parlance of conspiracy writers, and with good reason. Microchipping is a very real plan, and has long been done by the military, yet more recent advancements may eventually make it unnecessary, if a total realtime surveillance grid is able to be erected. Nevertheless, microchipping is very much a real issue. Is is rational to hand ones own privacy and self-identity over to a vast globalist bureaucracy? Only a fool would think so. Yet Bond is microchipped under the auspices of his own “safety,” yet M even admits it’s purpose is to track Bond, too. M is still worried that Bond may not be able to handle the cold life of espionage and assassination.
The film then shifts to Montenegro, where the Casino Royale hotel and casino where Bond will face off against LeChiffre in a game of poker and wills. Bond’s agent associate for this mission is Vesper Lynd, played by the gorgeous Eva Green. As readers of the novel know, Vesper ultimately betrays Bond because she was working under duress for SMERSH, and a much similar situation is at work in the film. LeChiffre is angered at Bond due to having his terror attack foiled, which results in the Ugandan warlord coming to kill LeChiffre for the missing 101 million. After a brief fight, LeChiffre determines to kill Bond, poisoning him in the midst of the poker match.
This is the famous scene where Bond dies, with Vesper arriving in time to reinsert the defibrillator, resulting in Bond’s “resurrection.” So the progression of Bond in the film is from newly initiated assassin in an idyllic Bahamas paradise to the Dante-ish, purgatorial/hellish Body World to death itself, and then to torture with LeChiffre in an underground lair. LeChiffre becomes the satanic shade of Bond, as LeChiffre injures his “manhood.” Bond has been emasculated as a result of LeChiffre’s weirdo BDSM fetish. Readers of mythology will immediately recall the Osiris myth, wherein Osiris was dismembered into 14 parts, with his phallus removed. Osiris was reassembled, yet lacked his phallus due to Set, which had to be fixed by Isis creating a new one. The mythology here is fascinating, because as Bond heals at the conventicle, Vesper returns to tell him he is still a man, and that she craves his phallus. Vesper functions here like Isis, which is entirely possible given that “Vesper” is Hesperus, the evening star, or Venus. As the evening star, Hesperus is the son of the dawn goddess Eos, the Roman Aurora. Hesperus is the brother of Phosphorus, or Lucifer. Thus, as the evening star, which is Venus, Vesper Lynd is both Venus, goddess of sex, and Isis, the repairer of Osiris.
Following the resurrection of Bond and the return of his sexual functioning, the couple retreat to Venice to supposedly live out their days with 100 million. Bond ends up double-crosses by Vesper Lynd, which had been foreshadowed in the windows at the Casino Royale. As you can see from the image, the windows contain clear images of the double cross, or the Cross of Lorraine. The Cross of Lorraine has long been associated with the Knights Templar, who had reportedly abandoned Catholicism for some form of Gnosticism in the Middle Ages. This cross can also be featured right side up or on its side. Thus, on a deeper level, the symbols indicate again the esoteric connection of Bond and the realm of hermetic mystery. As it is in the upper world of normal life, so it is in the underworld of the crytpocracy, evoking the ancient hermetic dictum, “As above, so below.”
The ancient dictum extends back to Egypt, as well as into alchemy, working from the assumption that what happens on the terrestrial realm is mirrored in the heavenly, or spiritual realm. The double-cross dualism and the principle behind this dictum can also be seen in the background symbol on the sign of Casino Royale: the Byzantine double-headed eagle. Manichaean dualism is mentioned often in my essays, due to its prevalence in hermeticism. As Bond must complete the stages of his initiation, he traverses the stages of spiritual journey from Eden to death and hell to dismemberment, and then to resurrection as new man. This progression is as old as time, but it also corresponds to the alchemical process of transmutation from base metal to gold. The philosopher’s stone is the magically produced gold, and read cosmically, it is the resurrected man of immortality. Bond must go from prima materia, the original primeval state of all matter before being impressed with a form, to the final stage of alchemical marriage (Bond-ing). The film concludes with Bond shooting “Mr. White,” shadowy financier behind LeChiffre, following Bond’s loss of Vesper to the watery abyss when the Venice edifice collapses into the water. Here, the waters of the abyss have washed away the last of Bond’s attachments to the world, preparing him for the next stage, the whitening stage of alchemy, or albedo, in capturing Mr. White.