The Shining (1980) – Esoteric Analysis

All-American Manager Ullman, facilitator of whores, orgies and abuse.
Original film poster.

Original film poster.

By: Jay Dyer

“Down the years, he had a phrase that he repeated like a personal mantra to hold at bay anyone who pressed him too closely about the “meaning” of his work, or his own “intentions.”  It came from an essay by H.P. Lovecraft, like Stephen King a popular manipulator of the occult: “In all things that are mysterious-never explain.”  The edict applies to Kubrick’s own work, but even more to himself.”  Stanley Kubrick, Director by: Walker, Taylor and Ruchti, pg. 274

Generally considered one of the best horror films of all time, the Stanley Kubrick adaptation of the Stephen King story The Shining, is not lacking in interpretive creativity on the part of critics and analysts.  Freudian psychoanalysis combined with esoteric speculation generally garner much of the review space, but in my estimation the Shining is about something much more obvious, yet obscure.  I believe the film adaptation is intended to convey the same message as King’s, and that is demonic possession.  Not merely possession of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), but of the spectral haunting of America itself, in terms of its dark past in relation to the Native Americans.  Indigenous animistic spiritualism undergirds the film, manifesting in a kind of generational curse upon Jack, as we will see.

Initially, the camera perspective appears to fly in from an aerial vantage, as if it were the view of a spirit or demon.  From the camera’s vantage we also see a lake with and “as above, so below” reflection of a lonely islet in the midst of vast mountains.  Signifying isolation, Jacks desire to be rid of his family is reflected in nature, but as we will see, mirrors and reflections will be displayed prominently in the film to convey reality behind the veil, in the spiritual realm.

As above, so below - the mirror of two worlds.

As above, so below – the mirror of two worlds.

Hovering then over the mountains, we eventually see Jack driving towards the ominous Overlook Hotel in Colorado. Built in 1907, the site was chosen for its seclusion and scenic beauty, yet there is a darker side to this locale: It seems to draw dark forces into its midst.  While the hotel is “real,” we will discover in Jack’s mind it begins to take on an other-worldly, almost portal aspect.  Jack has in fact chosen this location purposefully because the “writing” of the story is not his novel, but his gruesome reenactment of spiritual sacrifice that is required for his entrance into the hall of fame – the abode of the “beautiful people.”

the-shining-ullman

All-American Manager Ullman, facilitator of whores, orgies and abuse.

The interview scene conveys this overtly Americana façade that clues the viewer into the dual symbology of the film, where the Overlook is both Jack’s degenerating psyche and a microcosm of the United States.  With a friendly, charming veneer, the baby boomer generation has a dark side that is portrayed both figuratively and literally in Jack’s brutality and the mystic locale of the Overlook.  In this sense, America is not baseball and apple pie, and Manager Ullman’s JFK-esque appearance masks his own potential to actually be nefarious, while surrounded by icons of Americana, from flags to paintings to Native American artworks.

Jack's homosexual and incestuous tendencies. Credit to Rob Ager.

Jack’s homosexual and incestuous tendencies. Credit to Rob Ager.

It is here that Jack divulges his desire for solitude and isolation, suggesting the non-interventionist policies of pre-New Freedom Initiative America.  It is also worth noting that the photos in Ullman’s office appear to be the same images that will conclude the film (as will be shown below).  Ullman reveals to Jack the history of the caretakers involved  a previous mass murder, where “cabin fever” resulted in an instance of madness.  Danny, we begin to learn, has a special talent by which he can presage the future, which is the film’s title, “shining.”  Walker, Taylor and Ruchti explain, highlighting my point about animism and Native American traditions:

“Carothers [Dick Halloran] is a great casting success.  His talent for ‘shining” springs from the animism associated with blacks, but Carothers’ features, ancient and weathered like an Easter Island monument, also lend the story more gravitas. He’s the hero, although a sacrificial hero.”

Jack explained to Ullman his wife Wendy (Shelly Duvall) is a “confirmed ghost story and horror film fanatic,” but as we see from the imagery in the Torrance apartment, Wendy actually shares an interest in the occult, including numerous books on witchcraft, as well as the notorious Catcher in the Rye.  Because Jack has come to despise his family, whom he thinks are holding him back from greatness, it will come into his mind (through the suggestion of the demonic) to create a real horror for Wendy.

"Ghost and horror fanatic" Wendy's books also include "The Magic Circle" and "The Mother Goddess."

“Ghost and horror fanatic” Wendy’s books also include “The Magic Circle” and “The Mother Goddess.”

Danny experiences a supernatural premonition and blackout at this point, knowing they are destined to undergo the Overlook ordeal.  We begin to suspect Danny has been abused as his alternate persona appears to be a spirit named “Tony,” who lives in Danny’s mouth and stomach. In my opinion, the usage of inverted stars here is intentional, as we later discover Jack has physically and sexually assaulted Danny (resulting in his traumatic break and “Tony”).  Interestingly, in accounts of spiritual possession, there are instances of spirits inhabiting certain areas of the body in precisely this way.

If you like this analysis, pre-order my book Esoteric Hollywood by clicking this image!

Indeed, as Rob Ager has correctly elucidated, the abuse appears to be generational, and intergenerational conflict and Freudian/Oedipal envy (Jack resents Danny) will occupy much of this story. Ager is also correct in his insights concerning the cartoon programming Danny has apparently received, as Jack will become the “Big Bad Wolf,” utilizing the Disney and nursery rhyme mantras during his psychosis.  This is also why cartoons are consistently playing and seen throughout the film, including numerous references to fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel and classical works of mythology with Theseus and the labyrinth’s minotaur.

Nihilistic favorite of so-called assassins and killers, Catcher in the Rye.

Nihilistic favorite of so-called assassins and killers, Catcher in the Rye.

Ager is also perceptive to connect the old hag in the bath tub to the classical notion of the seductive nymphs or sirens that turn into hags or cause sailors to crash upon the rocks. Looking over the books visible in Wendy’s living room, we can see an interest in witchcraft in The Magic Circle (or is Jack the witch?) and Mother Goddess, as the counselor learns Jack dislocated Danny’s shoulder in a drunken rage. Wendy, however, is partly to blame in this, as she is willing to let this trauma go on Jack’s good word. Recall as well the “magic circle” also appears…..

 

The rest of this analysis is now in print form in my best selling book, Esoteric Hollywood: Sex, Cults & Symbols in Film which can be purchased (signed copies) by clicking on the image:

If you like this analysis, purchase my best selling book here, SIGNED!

JaysAnalysis has grown to become one of the premier film and philosophy sites on the net, showcasing the talents of Jay Dyer, whose graduate work focused on the interplay of film, geopolitics, espionage and psychological warfare.  Jay is a public speaker, lecturer, comedian and author of the popular title Esoteric Hollywood: Sex, Cults and Symbols in Film, which made it to Amazon’s No. 1 spot in its first month of release in the Film and Hollywood Category:

16174644_10158166365365442_8083664955769107963_n

Known for his in-depth commentary, satire and celebrity impressions, Jay is the host of the JaysAnalysis Podcast and Esoteric Hollywood. He is academically published, a regular contributor to 21stCenturyWire, Soul of the East and the Espionage History Archive, as well as appearing on numerous nationally syndicated radio shows, such as Ground Zero and Coast to Coast AM, as well as TV shows like Buzzsaw with Sean Stone.  

Broaching subjects as wide as satire, metaphysics, film analysis, theology, geopolitics, literature and history, as well as interviewing numerous prominent figures, Jay is academically published in peer review and has authored hundreds of articles already read by millions in just the past few years.  Jay Dyer has also co-created, written, and co-starred with Jay Weidner in a new television series titled Hollywood Decoded for Gaia based on his unique approach to film.

If you like this analysis, pre-order my book Esoteric Hollywood by clicking this image!

 

25 Comments on The Shining (1980) – Esoteric Analysis

  1. Catcher in the Rye pops up in a lot of these esoteric films.

  2. The frozen souls in Dante’s Divine Comedy are confined in ice for the sin of treachery. A sin Jack is also guilty of. One of Dante’s treacherous sinners is a cannibal who vents his rage by eating the brain of a fellow traitor who is frozen next to him for all eternity. I can’t help but think of that example whenever I am reminded of America’s love affair with zombies.

    Another parallel is A.I.’s David who is frozen next to the Blue Fairy for thousands of years. The Blue Fairy being the siren/witch/hag to David’s Jack or Danny. A.I. is another Spielberg/Kubrick Joint.

    Great work.

  3. Quentin Tarantino has an explicit scene of identity alteration in Death Proof http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9m4m61irpo. Any normal person can drive a car to a destination responding to external events, but with no recollection of having consciously done so. Amnesia can even develop for the dissociated consciousness that drove the car. If someone has a talent for dissociation and they are hypnotised to respond to keywords – like tv hypnotism – you then have an eyes wide shut scenario. A Victorias Secret model visits Paris at the same time as the COP21 talks, has sex with dignitaries of the global elite, but with no recollection of having done so. Amnesia can even develop for the dissociated consciousness that was visiting Paris. Alan Watt even said the COP21 meeting was notable for the a la carte dining and prostitutes.

  4. Excellent analysis. One quibble—the time of the film is not May. The action takes place over the winter.

  5. As you ponted out in parts of South India they draw those sacred geometrical patterns with chalk outside their homes/business every night. It’s pretty impressive how quickly they knock them up. I especially saw them in temple towns like Hampi and Gokarna.

  6. if you combine dissociation, somatic narcissism and hypnosis you have a person with suggestability, compulsive hypersexuality and a non-existent ‘reality test’. They would mistake their sexual behaviour for a dream – as a defence mechanism against shame. This is implied in Alice’s garden dream in EWS. For the somatic narcissist hypersexuality is not an option it is required by the identity as a ritual activity. Without sexual conquests they ‘decompensate’ like a vampire being hit with sunlight. Combine somatic narcissism with dissociation and hypnosis you have a sex marionette

  7. trafficking of somatic narcissists? allegedly

    looking forward to the COP21 – with bonus occult symbolism
    http://websta.me/p/1136554864539212923_322361670

  8. “Either way, it is a cyclical process of a time-bound, emergent deity arising from within the kosmos itself, and not an eternal deity who alone subsists outside time and space who creates ex nihilo.”

    This thought is very similar to a passage from Micheal Aquino’s “Black Magick” book. Aquino is very much synonym for Psy-Ops, you can hear him wax poetically about this topics in this link, it might be useful material for further research. His “Setian” methaphysics is very much LHP mixed with Crowley + Plato.

    GBM stands for Greater Black Magick, and LBM for lesser for him, and it’s very much in the Robert Anton Wilson’s subjective/objective “Reality Tunnel” concepts.

    The passage from “Black Magick” that i’m talking about,its a copy/paste:

    “The Æon of Horus is not just a period of time when ideas symbolized by
    Horus are dominant. Rather it is a Ding an sich, a noumenon: something of purely
    rational apprehension, not perception by the senses.
    Thus in what I might term the LBM sense, an æon is simply an attitude which
    one chooses or is conditioned to adopt. This is what I mean when I say that
    different people “exist in different æons”: that a Jew, Christian or Moslem exists in the
    Æon of Osiris, a Wiccan in that of Isis, and a Thelemite in that of Horus.
    Accordingly, while I consider æons “pyramidal” in sophistication, after the fashion
    of Plato’s “pyramid of thought”, I see no reason to consider them time-sequential, with
    each new one superseding and obliterating the one before it.
    In an LBM sense, therefore, the population of the world continues overwhelmingly
    in the grip of the Æon of Osiris, the best intentions of Aiwass notwithstanding. The Æon
    of Isis is the next influential, followed by that of Horus. The Æon of Set, highest on the
    pyramid and most difficult to comprehend and indwell, is the “smallest” and most
    exclusive of all.

    As with the degree system, it would be very difficult if not impossible to spend all of
    one’s time in a “higher æon”. When we go about our affairs in the profane world, we are
    usually Osirians, peering with curiosity and vague alarm at ecological activists (Isis) or
    avant-garde artists (Horus). Yet we experience periods of Isis and Horus too – and, when
    we wish to, that very rarefied Æon of Set.
    Crowley, who suggested that æons were periods of time in “catastrophic
    succession” – I presume in order to more forcefully advance the cause of the Æon of
    Horus – predicted in the Equinox #I-10 that following the ÆH “will arise the Equinox of
    Ma, the goddess of justice. It may be a hundred or ten thousand years from now (1913),
    for the computation of time is not here as there.” In 1921, in his “new comment” to Liber
    Legis, Crowley speculated that the next æon would be that of Thmaist, third officer in
    the G.’.D.’. Neophyte ritual. On the other hand, he continued, “It may be presumptuous
    to predict any details concerning the next æon after this.”
    That is essentially my attitude as well. As Magus of the Æon of Set, I am an Eye in
    that particular Triangle [or Shining Trapezohedron], as it were. The only one who knows
    for certain what the next-conceived æon will be, if indeed there should be one, would the
    Magus or Maga who Utters its word.

    Above I made reference to æons “in an LBM sense”. Is there a “GBM sense” as
    well? Indeed there is, but – like Her-Bak – you are going to have to reflect very carefully
    upon it to apprehend it.
    Seen through the lens of GBM, an æon is in fact a living entity, in which its initiates
    are “cells”. This is the secret which the Gnostics brought from antiquity, and which so
    frightened the Christian dogmatists. The “god” of an æon is thus a creature of the total
    magical and philosophical energy of material beings who are initiates of that æon, i.e.
    who are aware that they are “components of the god”. [Are you now beginning to see the
    ancient origins of Hegel’s concept of an “overmind”?]
    Understood in this sense, a GBM Working is a way of the “part’s” reaching out to
    contact, experience, and/or express the “whole”. This is why true GBM is not even
    remotely like “prayer” as the profane practice it. Nor is it mere meditation, in which the
    mind of the meditator merely extends to its own limits. It is the greatest secret, and the
    greatest fulfillment, of unique existence.
    Once an æon is apprehended in this way, a great many veils fall away, a great many
    mysteries of what magic is/ why it works are revealed, and indeed the entire “why” of
    human consciousness is explained. All you need is the noesis to perceive it. Don’t be
    concerned if you don’t attain such noesis the moment you finish your first reading of
    Black Magic. It is there; and when you are ready for it, It will be ready for you.”

  9. Great analysis Jay. Always something new!

    I read the Novel of The Shining a couple of years ago. It’s interesting, the differences. I saw the film long before reading the book. Was always struck by the fact Kubrick used King’s novel, as it is pulp horror fiction. Usually used more literary efforts I thought? But on later inspection the novel is actually quite good. The scenes where Jack is becoming obsessed with reading news clips in the boiler room. The boiler itself, similar to the fireplace in The Amittyville Horror? The killer topiary animals, replaced by the maze in the film, that move only when not being looked at (like the angels in Doctor Who). The roque(sp.) mallets that Jack uses, replaced by an axe in the film. And Tony being a little boy who lives in Danny’s mouth, sometimes seen in the distance. Redrum is there though. Isn’t it interesting how murder can seem a terrible word for a child, but has become normalized for adults? When Murder She Wrote came on TV in the 80’s, just the title and idea horrified me at the time.

    You know he has written a recent sequel? I read that one as well. Along with some of his other recent works. Doctor sleep doesn’t read as well as the other, original ideas. One I haven’t gotten to yet is 11/22/63 witch I fear upholds the official lone patsy narrative. Mr. Mercury presents a good recipe for a James Holmes, or sandy hook guy, crossed with Norman Bates, for lone nut home grown terror. Under the Dome has a brain tumor induced serial killer. In Doctor Sleep, King makes mention of a character from his son Joe Hill’s novel N0S 4A2 and Christmasland, where Children are kidnapped and taken to. Also in Doctor Sleep a brief mention about “Finders” searching for gifted children to steal their Shining power, through traumatic ritual killing.

    Of the earlier King novels, Pet Semetary is almost polar opposite of The Shining. The movie was pretty bad. The book is great though. Very similar, with native, manitou motifs and compromised father figure, wife, son, wise old guy who helps out, etc. But in this one it’s all reversed, what happens to everyone. Especially in the books, because Halloran survives. The idea’s Levenda brings up in Sinister Forces. Or HP Lovecraft. The fear of the unknown, lurking in the New England countryside. Kubrick leaves most of that alone. Better portrayed in Larry Fessenden’s low budget indie The Manitou, or Ravenous. There’s a new low bug with Kurt Russell, Bone Tomahawk, which had some potential, but blew it. There’s a film of Ghost Story too. Though all lesser films on their own merits, of course.

    Lesser films indeed. Along with Twin Peaks (1st season) and some of Lynches other work, The Shining stands out as one of the best. Movies of King’s books don’t have a good track record mostly. Romero’s The Dark Half is good. Trying to think of anything else along those lines. Maybe Suspiria? Any ideas, or suggestions?

  10. The page out of “The Malekulan Journey of the Dead,” figure B, with the criss cross design reminds me of the criss crosses cut into the Black Dalhia’s, Elizabeth’s Short’s hip. There was artwork done by Man Ray called L’Equivoque, that pictured a women with these criss crosses in place of facial features. I just finished reading Steve Hodel’s book and visited his website. Man Ray may also be referenced by the Minotaur.
    Also, Wendy and the twin girls both wear clothes with cross cross and block patterns in blue and white. Danny and Wendy wear the colors blue, white and red.
    In the scene where Jack has the Playboy magazine, he is wearing the same criss cross pattern.
    Another MK ultra reference is in the rainbow stickers on the back of his door. Plus, there were several species of birds.

  11. I also think that the Clockwork orange eye is very similar to the eye in Man Rays famous photo, “Tears.” Clocks may be a reference to Dali and his use of clocks in his artwork. JD Salinger had a penchant for very young girls. The twins outfits are very similar to Dorothy’s in The Wizard of Oz minus the red ruby slippers. Is the Overlook hotel a reference to Lookout Mountain AF Station?

  12. I’ve always thought that the Shining deserved a deeper analysis than I have typically read. I’m glad you took the time to do it and show the layered themes of the movie. It’s interesting that while watching the movie you these tones emotionally and instinctually, yet you feel unclear as to why you’re so uncomfortable. Kubrick really was a unique master.

    I find the demonic rulers of the overlook as a metaphor for the American rulership to be quite poignant in that no rational, respectable adult believes in ghosts, nor do they believe in an elite ruling class that pulls the strings from behind the scenes. Theses are both seen to be “ghost stories” for the children and the gullible. In this way the two archetypes are quite similar, and has interesting comparisons with SPECTRE.

    While I’ve tended to think that monarch itself is bogus, or a misdirection, I had always held a contention that the use of dissociation, hypnotism, trauma-based mind control, etc. were techniques utilized by intelligence groups for the purpose of programming persons for various tasks. Estabrooks seemed pretty confident in what he was able to do, and Cameron and West’s work seemed to be drawing on similar techniques if not directly related. I agree with your statement that the real objective of mk ultra was mass mind control, what I’m wondering is do you think that the notion of programming through dissociation etc. isn’t really a thing, that it is simply overblown, or something else?

    In relation to that I would enjoy learning your take on the Valorie Wolf episode back in the late nineties at the hearing for radiological abuses. I admit that I have accepted the testimony of those women with perhaps less critical analysis than I ought to have, but something about their stories seems reasonable to me despite the outlandish quality of them. Perhaps it was a ruse though to make the hearing seem ridiculous to the standard public.

  13. I haven’t seen Kubrick’s Lolita for decades, but I just watched Adrian Lynn’s recent Lolita. I noted that beyond the stepfather’s guilty pedophilia is an extremely evil, wealthy pedophile operating out of a mansion and connected to a private school giving him access to the children under the cover of “progressive” ideas stressing “dating” instead of scholarship. In fact, the pedophile has the corrupt school administrators photograph child pornography in his mansion. The guilty pedophile stepfather attempts to redeem himself by murdering the committed one. ODDLY, Adrian Lynn utilizes the David Lynch device of flickering electric interference to lights, etc. when the evil, committed pedophile makes his entry to scenes.

  14. Wonderful in-depth critique on The Shining. You & Rob Ager are correct about the Monarch/MKultra references in not only The Shining, but also in Clockwork Orange & Eyes Wide Shut. The bear symbolism here is really more (sadly) a continued inference of this dark mind conditioning when perpetrated on children; bears for boys (such as traumatized Danny’s teddys & Jack’s scarier adult bears in the hotel) & cats/stuffed tigers for girls (the murdered twins, the ‘Cat Lady’ in Clockwork Orange, and the women & girl beta kitten victims in Eyes Wide Shut who are seen posed with stuffed felines).

    The ultimate proof of this Monarch/traumatic abuse symbolism in The Shining lies within the film’s centerpiece prop: the hotel’s blood-spewing elevator. If you look at a screengrab of the elevator before its doors open – carvings of bears & cats are on its very columns (below the grimacing face above the doors). Kubrick certainly must have specified for the construction of the elevator what designs he wanted exactly to go on it, so they can’t be dismissed as random images. As you know, Kubrick don’t play random.

    The bears on either post have a double face – an inside cartoony dead bear with tongue out & X’s for eyes – and an outside scary enraged bear face which is splitting the bottom cat head open with an axe (or pulling it apart with its own claws). Another visual clue that the murder of the two girls also infers sexual abuse is the axe in the famous scene – despite all the blood splashed everywhere in the hallway, the most blood on the axe itself is actually the bloody hand-prints on the axe handle, not the axe blade (like one would expect after committing such a bloodbath).

    Last thing you may find interesting – that screengrab you have of Wendy viewing sleeping Jack thru her vanity mirror – zoom in REAL close & look at the “reflection” just above Jack’s head on the headboard. Warning – it’s NOT a happy face – but may further support the bear/Minotaur themes running through The Shining. At the very least, it’s one scary-looking demon.

  15. STANLEY KUBRICK WAS A GENIUS OF HIS TIME. Sad to say, many geniuses don’t live long enough to be redeemed by the very fabric of secret societies that they wish to unravel to the unsuspecting world.

6 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Jay Dyer’s Esoteric Hollywood: The Real Meaning Kubrick’s Shining | Jay's Analysis
  2. Jay Dyer’s Esoteric Hollywood: The Real Meaning of Kubrick’s Shining | A Sweet Dose of Reality
  3. BOILER ROOM – EP#43 – Cloppers, OR Osmosis, MK Ultra & Voltron
  4. Boiler Room: Jay Dyer & Jamie Hanshaw on MK Culture, Bronies & Oregon PsyOps | Jay's Analysis
  5. Poltergeist (1982) – Youth Sacrificed to The Beast (JaysAnalysis) | Jay's Analysis
  6. David Lynch, Dune & Twin Peaks, Dark Crystal & Time Bandits – Jay Dyer on Stark Truth – Jay's Analysis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: