Prometheus (2012) – Esoteric Analysis

A big head.

A kind of Totenkopf, or "death's head."

Panspermiatic Cinematic By: Jay Dyer Prometheus was the 2012 presumed blockbuster prequel to Ridley Scott's famous Alien series. While reviews were slightly on the positive side, many found the film to be a rehash of everything seen in the original Alien film, now with overdone CGI.  Prometheus was a successful money-maker globally, while falling stagnant in domestic sales, yet it simultaneously left many film goers clueless as to the meaning of the flick they spent $12 watching.  Enter JaysAnalysis: Underneath all these exoteric facts of aliens and cliche horror gags, a darker esoteric plot can be seen, similar to the message of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  We will discover that Prometheus offers us yet another example of the new mythology the Hollywood industrial espionage complex intends to propagate to replace the Western religious tradition(s). So what is Prometheus about? Daddy Issues - but not just familial and psychological daddy issues, esoteric daddy issues! Let's break it down. In the opening sequence we see earth in development in an ancient, closer to a Paradisical stage, with no humans yet on the scene.  Rather than a biblical narrative of Eden or the fall of Adam, an alien being known as an "engineer" is seen drinking what we later learn is an advanced bio-weapon.  As the nordic-featured alien disintegrates, his carcass tumbles off a cliff into a waterfall, where his DNA mysteriously reassembles into a new living form (which will be man).  As Darwinian natural selection emerges later in the film, one may safely surmise the sequence is intended to be an alternative explanation to human origins, much like the so-called "scientific" (read mythological) theory of panspermia of Kelvin, Hoyle, Hawking and Crick.

A big head.

Confirming the Egyptian connection, in Alien, the Weyland logo on the Nostromo is the winged disc of Horus.

Confirming the Egyptian connection, in Alien, the Weyland logo on the Nostromo is the winged disc of Horus.

35,000 years later, a team of scientists discovers a series of cave paintings on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, that portray a “giant” pointing to a star system which happens to predate the same image found on numerous other steles from Babylonian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian antiquity.  Perceptive readers will immediately recall the purported Stele of Revealing through which Aleister Crowley claimed to have received revelation of his Thelemic religion of our era, the new aeon of Horus.  In this view of history, there are roughly delineated ages (or aeons) that correspond to human development, the first era corresponding to Isis and goddess worship in antiquity, the second to Osiris, for the patriarchal worship of a self-sacrificial masculine Deity of the Middle Ages, and Horus, the crowned and conquering child of our age, where supposedly individual man comes to self-realization and self-actualization.  This fact is particularly relevant to the film because Prometheus is also the ancient myth of the Titan who challenged father Zeus and stole the fire of the gods, bringing it down to mankind.  In the film, the “Prometheus” is the name of the ship that takes the Weyland Corporation’s exploration team to the distant planet the alien engineers appear to have arrived from.  Among the crew, however, only Dr. Shaw (Noomi Rapace), Dr. Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) and the hidden Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) are actual believers in the theory of the ancient alien engineers, and only Dr. Shaw is a Christian.

The Stele of Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu

The Stele of Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu

As is the norm with the Weyland Corporation, an AI humanoid is also aboard to safeguard company interests – the Mao-garbed, T.E. Lawrence/Peter O’Toole obsessed “David” (Michael Fassbender).  It is interesting that David is obsessed, or programmed to be obsessed, with T.E. Lawrence and/or the film Lawrence of Arabia, who was a British secret agent responsible for securing Imperial interests in the Middle East, particularly with the Saudis.  Already, we have four curious references to Nordic/Aryan elements, with “Weyland” being an old Nordic poem about a prince of the elves, David as a nordic-featured robot, and the engineers as something akin to a “Great White Brotherhood” of “secret chiefs” and alien visitors, reminiscent of the the theosophic fables of Madame Blavatsky, and the origin of man, or the “root race,” from the Isle of Skye, Scotland.  Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner universe also features this same “Aryan” theme with Roy Batty, as well as corporate socialism destined to steer our future.  This suggests an influence of theosophic sources for the mythology of the Alien series, as well as many more occult ideas, as we shall see.  Consider the image of David with the two skulls, or “death’s heads,” as heads appear constantly in the film, both as plot devices and symbolic signposts.  Amongst the Nazi S.S, the Totenkopf held a special significance as a the bringer of death.  Personified death is even mentioned several times in the film, as we discover the planet is not actually the alien home world, but a terraformed weapons laboratory where the alien DNA bio-weapon is housed.

The Peter O'Toole-esque "David" between two death's heads. Image: Wikipedia.

The Mao Zedong meets Peter O’Toole “David,” between two death’s heads.

It is also significant that the journey takes place on Christmas of 2093 as we discover Dr. Shaw is barren, yet due to the dastardly machinations of David and the Weyland Corporation she was chosen as a test subject for alien fertilization, with the intent of Shaw giving birth to a new alien god, mimicking the virgin birth of Christ.  As we might expect, the Weyland Corporation happens to be much more interested in genetic cross-species hybridization and advanced bio-warfare technology than honest scientific inquiry into human origins.  We can see an analogue to reality here, as the military industrial complex’s amazing technological advances are primarily fueled by warfare weapons research, while fronts like NASA give the appearance of the advancement of human knowledge.  In fact, the recent threats of NASA losing its funding resulting in the shutting down of the space program are a complete farce, as the real space program, part of the black budget of over 50 billion dollars, has not ceased.  As with Weyland Corporation, the real shadow technology complex is private, not some public, government institution.  Like the well-meaning, compartmentalized scientist Dr. Shaw, our scientists and tech wizards rarely discover they are serving a much deeper, darker agenda of the shadow government.  Dr. Shaw even discovers that she was chosen for the Prometheus mission resulting in her becoming a test subject like Ripley in the original Alien series.

Our alien "creators." Do you even lift, bro?

Our alien “creators.” Do you even lift, bro?

As it turns out, Dr. Shaw is correct, and the alien engineers are our creators.  The creation of man by “engineers” is curiously similar to both the gnostic mythology of creation, as well as the masonic view of God as the “Great Architect,” since engineers and architects work with preexisting matter, and do not create ex nihilo.  Like the deity of so many Hollywood storylines, the “god” is merely an immanentist deus ex machina that arose from some primordial chaotic happenstance.  In this regard, the panspermia myth is made to blend with the “science” of Darwinian aeons, where any kind of higher beings must have also been the result of chaotic material interaction and process.  If there is any kind of single Supreme God, he is the hidden, unknown God (Acts 17).  It should also be mentioned that the idea of giants in ancient civilizations that were the result of some kind of unnatural genetic manipulation is also mentioned in Genesis 6, where the sons of Seth are conjoined with angels to produce strange offspring, detailed at length in the Book of Enoch.  The gnostic apect of the film’s theology thus fits well with the occult aspects posited earlier, as the theme of the death of the father is repeated several times.

A skull carved into a mountain on the engineer's planet.

A skull carved into a mountain on the engineer’s planet.

Captain Vickers (Charlize Theron) desires the death of her pedophile father, Peter Weyland, the presumed dead old fart who eventually arises from a hold within the Prometheus seeking immortality from the engineers, David desires the death of humans as an AI bot without emotions, and Dr. Shaw, who ultimately wills the death of the (masculine) alien god creators for their discovered plans to annihilate humanity with the alien bio-weapon. Keep in mind Dr. Shaw is also motivated by the death of her father, from whom she obtained her faith. In other words, the Promethean myth is explained by a life of pure Darwinian survival of the fittest, as the quest ultimately becomes an Oedipal struggle for overthrowing the vestiges of the existing patriarchial order through the weaponry of death, as well as the death of God the Father, with the victor obtaining transhumanist immortality.  As Captain Vickers explains with hatred to her father, “A king has his reign and then dies.  That is the natural order of things,” and as David says to Dr. Shaw, “Doesn’t everyone want their parents dead?”  In this aspect, Prometheus is about the new aeon of supposed self-realization of individual self-will, as opposed to obeisance to hierarchical, archetypal power figures like “mother” and “father” (think also of Ripley battling with the on-board computer system “Mother” in Alien).

Daddy issues.

Daddy issues.

Exploring more religious themes, the alien planet’s “pyramid” (as it’s called in the film) is revealed to be an entire spacecraft, where within its chambers there is a massive, Easter Island-style head, which appears to have a religious significance for the engineers, as well as murals and paraphernalia related to the worship of the actual alien aliens (the Xenomorph).  It would appear the engineers worship death in the form of the Xenomporh, as the only seeming raison d’etre for the Xenomorphs is killing.  The universe of Alien/Prometheus is a radically nihilistic one, where instead of a benevolent Creator God of providential guidance, mankind is the accidental DNA experiment descendant of a black death bio-warfare science-worshipping alien cult.  The alien on the mural in the engineers’ head chamber appears to be crucified, signifying either worship of, or the conquest of, the Xenomorph hybrid.  This would explain why the engineers are intent on returning to earth to wipe out the human race since, as I’ve elucidated many times, in films the “aliens” often represent the eugenics-minded elite intent on depopulating the earth as a ritual sacrifice the angel of death.  This could also explain the Nordic/Aryan elements in the film, since strictly regimented breeding and procreation was a key facet of the Nazi version of eugenics.

A crucified Xenomorph.

A crucified Xenomorph.

As mentioned, heads are present everywhere in the film.  The head of the first engineer is discovered to be decapitated in the ritual (?) room where the head statue is.  David is seen with skulls, there is the skull on the mountain, and near the end, David has his head torn off by the last engineer.  My speculation is the head is the source and symbol of reason, but also the highest level of evolutionary development (in that worldview) as the house of the brain.  The engineers appear to worship the head, as well as mankind having reached almost the same level of technology as the engineers, with the ability to terraform, cross-species engineer and create AI.  David’s head is the highest form of human achievement and fathers are also “heads” of patriarchal societies.  Thus, the possession of headship is symbolized by all these noggins everywhere.  The battle for the future is presumably granted to whoever has the most advanced reason, yet in a strange twist, the only survivors at the end are Dr. Shaw, who remains in her faith, David’s head, an engineer and a Xenomorph (who has the biggest head!).  Reason alone is not sufficient in this nihilistic Alien universe: Pure willpower must be combined.  As with Ripley in Alien and the sequels, we find the feminist mythology present throughout that woman is somehow the new “man” that will overcome, without the need of any male.  Instead of the ubermensch, it’s the uber-chick, as we see with Hanna, Gravity, Hunger Games, Divergent, and a host of other girlpower pop cinema displays.  It is important that Dr. Shaw’s first name is Elizabeth, and in the film she’s called “El” a few times, which brings to mind the biblical name for higher beings, be it El or Elohim.  Though she aborts her birth, the Christmas present fetus is the offspring of a new Eve, El.

While Prometheus is visually captivating, I think it falls short of the innovative creativity Scott demonstrated with Alien.  What we do have with Prometheus is a revelation of the religious narrative behind the universe of Alien, where man is a genetic accidental offspring of purely finite creators.  A rehash of gnostic and occult fables, the new mythology of science is socially engineered by our own very human overlord engineers to seamlessly meld with Darwinism.  In modern man’s meaningless universe, it bears repeating – why not worship the black emptiness of nihilism and chaos? That the film has this ultimate point is shown when a dying Peter Weyland exhales to David, “There is nothing.”  Like H.R. Giger’s art that formed the basis for the films, the message is there is only the cold, harsh reality of machine-like matter in an impersonal cycle of flux.  In such a realm where there are no objective principles, metaphysics, gods or higher goods, there is only war, and the godhead of war is death, the Totenkopf.  In such a world there is no more reason for the rise of feminine heroics and strength than there is reason at all.  Heads are decapitated, bringing to mind the French Revolution guillotines, where heads were lopped off for anti-hierarchical revolution.  In Prometheus‘ revolution, just as in 18th century France, there is no reason for revolution, even when you worship reason, and so the anti-logic logic ends in this: The god of the universe is simply death.

Whither reason, science?

Whither reason, science?

 

20 Comments on Prometheus (2012) – Esoteric Analysis

  1. “instead of a benevolent Creator God of providential guidance, mankind is the accidental DNA experiment descendant of a black death bio-warfare science-worshipping alien cult.” Aptly put and hilarious as well!

    Great analysis!!

  2. Gnostic view that the God who created this world is evil, the Old Testament God of the jews.

  3. I took the Elizabeth reference to be one to the mother of John the Baptist. Like Elizabeth in the New Testament, Dr. Shaw is childless / barren. The leitmotif of skulls and decapitations might point in the direction of Masonic themes associated with both John the Baptist and decapitation. Perhaps this wink in the direction of associated esoterica will be picked up in the sequel —

  4. Thanks Jay for another great analysis – I see the film in a whole different light now.
    I agree with most of your analysis except for one vital issue: with respect, I don’t believe that ‘mankind is the accidental DNA experiment’, as you say. I believe that it was completely intentional within the context of the story.
    Maybe the sequels will prove me wrong, but my reading from the first film is entirely different so far. Because I choose to view the entire film from an optimistic viewpoint rather than a nihilistic one.
    Let me explain…
    In the opening sequence, an alien ‘engineer ‘approaches a waterfall. Above him is a mother ship, hovering. Not waiting, just watching – as the Alien has decided to die. He is dressed first in brown robes – not unlike a monk. There is a certain tone to the direction of this pivotal scene – almost reverential. The alien looks serene. He even smiles for a brief moment. He prepares himself before taking the bio-drink. This is not the same type of man seen in the final sequences of the movie. This man is the anti-thesis of the aggressive alien at the end. He has an inner calm – a certain spirituality about him.
    Yes, he is shocked by the dramatic reaction of the drink; yet it’s not entirely unexpected.
    For his decision to drink the bio-weapon concoction is a pure act of self-sacrifice. He is giving his DNA to the planet life stream. This is why he is stood next to a waterfall. Encoded within his DNA is his life force – more to the point it is his intellectual spirit.
    Intellectual spirit is the fire of the Luciferian religion – at the heart of the Promethean myth.
    The alien – Osiris? – is a former member of the death cult – sick and tired of death and destruction and totally enchanted by the sheer beauty of Earth. He has created a schism in the cult between those who associate the fire with the spark of the divine within (soul, atman) – and those who want to wreak chaos and destruction in the Universe, and gain personal power (Brain/godhead).
    I believe the whole trilogy will be about this continuous cosmic struggle.
    Humans are hated by the remainder of the death cult because they symbolise this betrayal by this renegade group that minimised their numbers, and ultimately led to their ruination; carried out by the Xenomorphs. But they also hated because their inception was borne from an act of caring – giving intellectual life with an innate awareness of the divine. Something the death cultists can never have – since they can only connect to the life within their ‘superior’ heads.
    As the elitist Peter Weyland says dying, ‘There is nothing.’ Indeed, there will be nothing for a ruthless mindset that denies the divine. Only oblivion for the likes of him.
    That’s my take, anyhow…Many thanks.

    • As an avid Scifi fan for 60 years I have to award Prometheus the title of “Worst Movie Ever Made” it far outclasses Ed Woods’ famous Plan Nine from Outer Space. It is so bad I have watched it three times just to enjoy the incredible stupidity from the beginning (an alien vomiting up black goo that turns into life forming DNA in seconds) to the end(where the heroine stuffs Davids’ head into a bowling ball bag.

  5. Others gave it a different interpretation. Check this out:

    http://cavalorn.livejournal.com/584135.html

  6. Dear OP – way to blend a bunch of fancy shit terminology into this review in a vain attempt to look intelligent. You must have a liberal arts degree. Congratulations!

  7. The engineers are idealised Greco-Roman sculptured forms. It’s clear from the noses, bodies – just look at sculptures of the time, and it’s self-evident.

    It’s also worth mentioning the scene on the ship where David is learning proto-Aryan (Indo-European) so as to be able to communicate with the engineers…you alluded to this with the ‘Great White Brotherhood’.

    Whilst not a perfect film, it had lots of excellent thought provoking content raising the bar well and above the majority of Hollywood dross.

  8. Michael M. Taylor // December 20, 2014 at 4:27 am // Reply

    The skull carved into the mountain was taken from Giger’s concept art for the Jodorowsky “Dune” film, in case you didn’t already know.

  9. Jesus was crucified on Golgotha = place of skull
    Totenkopf – teuton = german
    kopf = head, where is brain = reason – son of god ra
    Toten – titan, Prometheus was titan
    Tot – magyars calls Slovaks Tots
    Thoth = egyptian god of wisdom

  10. Did you catch the 2001 references in the film? It’ a rehash of that pic.

  11. I think that the narrative structure of Prometheus parallels 2001. David is named for Bowman and there is a scene with a brightly lit floor which mimics the room that Bowman is confined to after he enters the Stargate.

  12. Egyptian connection?

    Would it not make more sense that the wings of the Weyland logo represent the wings of Weyland?

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