I just got around to watching The Fountain after several people insisted I see it. Aronofsky is also the director of Pi, which I thought was heavy-handed, and Noah, which I thought was well realized but not an occult film. The Fountain is clearly an occult film. Aronofsky himself claims that he is not setting out to make occult films, but with how heavy handed Pi was and how weak Noah was in the occult, it’s fairly reasonable to assume that yes he is trying to make occult films, but no, he is not initiated into any particular stream.
Black Swan (clearly occult) and Requiem for a Dream (not particularly occult) are other Aronofsky films, but lets assume for a moment that Aronofsky is being honest when he says he’s not making occult films. I haven’t read the script so it’s hard to say just how he describes “the spaceship” but if it’s not mentioned explicitly, I would point to the director of visual effects – James Chinlund – as the obvious occult influence.
Lets review some occult points. The two main characters are Adam and Eve. They’re the archetypes of the first man and the first woman. There is a tree. The two characters go from being Adam and Eve to a more generalized role of a stereotypical male and a stereotypical female as the world progresses from the old era into the modern era. From there, they become more than male and female, but rather western and eastern thought. The female embraces nature and ultimately death as do most eastern religions to which the ultimate goal is annihilation and the masculine figure is really steeped in abrahemic religions as we witness him attempt to live in harmony with nature but ultimately express his individuality.
More to that point: The woman starts out as the ruler over the male in the original force of spain, and this is really the illustration of the original fertility cult. The male force in the world, to quote Varg, is literally expendable in this era as life is cheap and the male force doesn’t spend any time pregnant. Men knocked the women up, the women spent time at home delivering babies, the men went and made the fields nice or conquered someone with food. This is not an argument for feminism, this is an argument for partnership per Aronofsky and Varg. If the explorers don’t come back, the queen is as good as dead. If the explorers do come back, they come back pregnant with the idea of the new world. This is literally Aronofsky flipping the roles and saying that the women delivered the babies in the Garden of Eden, but in the new world as an era, the men really carried that load. The reason, of course, is because the gestation period of news from the New World was longer than the gestation period of humans. This gets covered very briefly when the men are discussing the news to the queen in the new world.
Diving into more passive observations, the old era is mostly scale of three, then scale of four, then rarely scale of five which appears more in the “present tense”. All the wrapping paper, swords, and similar items are either scale of four (four petals on the paper) or scales of three (three swords). Fans of Agrippa take note, you can pretty much follow the black books A to Z here and follow the movie through the modern era. That by itself is some sort of commentary – the viewer is really spoon fed occultism through the very obvious colonial era, to a more nuanced but still formalized modern era of science, which leaves the most interesting era of the future which is really modern day.
Also worth noting is the theme of the stars – in almost every scene in the movie there is a reference to traveling or moving through a starfield. This is really quite well done. The ancient era has the queen as the Host of Heaven, and she sits in a cage which is reminiscent of a galaxy. The torches and the candles make the starfield. The modern era is a bit more traditionally directed with the stars only being present when Izzy isn’t around. This by itself is a wonderful hint and really handed to us in the previous era. The previous era only had the stars invisible when death was present, while the modern era only has stars present in moments of prosecution or when the sun isn’t present. Again Aronofsky flips the roles a bit and makes Izzy so bright that she is the sun and no stars are present where Izzy is, even in death. It actually really feels quite OTO, “There is no God where I am” – and everyone dies.
In the modern era we’re given a grimoire in the film. The modern era of the film is really the mundane world. All our characters in the film are well integrated, so things which happen to them in the outer world affect their inner worlds. When Tommy loses his wedding rings, and Tommy is the subject or God of that modern era, he turns on the stars to help him find them. However the glare is such that the light is harsh, and he witnesses the lights but cannot stand to bear them. Similarly in the ancient era, where Izzy is God in the limited sense that mankind can perceive the Monad, we watch Izzy send Tommy on an impossible quest for immortality, and we also see the death of western religion in her. At the time, the priest is overrun by disgusting pagans who are portrayed as backwards and vulgar. What happens for Izzy is the priest dies, Christianity dies, and Tommy becomes her Christ. The two thieves with Tommy die, one without consulting him and one taking up his sword for the Tommy Christ, only to meet his inevitable end.
Back to the modern era, the theme of the film here is Izzy’s cancer. Tommy, who is the demiurge, can create but he cannot save her. He has authority through his education over the physical world, but he really has no spiritual light of his own at this point having been extinguished twice now. Once trying to find immorality in the physical world in the previous era and once because he becomes angry with the Monad in the modern era for losing Izzy. Izzy herself is pregnant after a fashion since she has cancer and we enter into a theme of shared spirituality through sex. Izzy’s cancer prevents her from feeling, and while she says this in reference to walking in the snow and the hot bathtub, but what Izzy really is saying is that she is losing attachment to the physical world. Izzy’s world is internal, a garden of pomegranates, and she has cultivated it through writing and reading and music and walks in the snow. Her eyes turned inwards. Tommy, being the demiurge, cannot understand this. But he does understand a desire in his soul expressed as love for Izzy and their sex is his sacrament. Izzy dies. Her funeral is bleak and Tommy walks away from humanity alone, which starts the next journey.
Space is really the showpiece of the film, but I also think it’s the most misunderstood part of it. The stars-as-candles are back, and the light is warm and refreshing. Tommy is seen in meditation, so he has become comfortable with the loneliness he experiences at Izzy’s funeral. He is in a sphere with his pomegranate tree (no seriously it’s a pomegranate tree) and the influences are laid out. The pomegranate grants immortality, and the sphere itself is literally a sephira. Around the perimeter of the sphere (“spaceship” in the extras but I’m not a huge fan of Grant) are broken sheds of that tree which comprise the crown. He is in kether and for Tommy, now “there is no God where I am”. The future merely exists for us to understand that the eastern religions which seek annihilation are really dead without acknowledging that we ourselves are divine. When the tree “dies”, and the tree is really Izzy with the weird hair thing going on, Tommy flips out. Tommy’s new communion with Izzy isn’t sex, Tommy is starting to be self actualized as a soul, but he harkens back to more western thought where his sacrament with Izzy is to eat the Host. He hasn’t quite understood his own inner divinity yet. The tree dies, and finally Tommy loses the last link he has to the Monad through Izzy, and this crushes his sephira, which is the internal world he shares with Izzy. He has two choices, he can die (this is the only time we see his breath in the film), and he tries to breathe new life into the tree by blowing on it. But, he finally realizes that he cannot go where Izzy is, even if she is in nature, and he has to go meet the Monad alone. He literally uses the tree as a spring to launch himself towards God, and in our final scene, he sits in the lotus and is consumed by the light as the walls of the original bubble thin and his own sphere launches into the light.
I really enjoyed the film. Anyone else notice anything?