Archive for January 3rd, 2010

I took in this James Cameron film in the first week of its release and it was simply delightful. Avatar is a melange of mythic elements and powerful archetypes that speak to and from our depths. The 2 hours and 45 minutes went by almost too quickly. This is a testament to the film’s rich symbolism and conformance to the twelve stages of the hero’s journey as articulated by Dr. Joseph Campbell, and the extraordinary and captivating CGI iconography.

As a Jungian, Avatar was a cinematic tour du force leaving me with plenty to think about.

While the storyline itself is not especially remarkable, the images and the interdependence among them certainly are. Of the many things in the film worth reflecting on and talking about, three things were especially striking as I look back on the experience:

  1. The Home Tree World: The central place of community and family life of the Nav ‘i people.
  2. The Tree of Souls: The luminous tree that acted as a nexus of the planet Pandora’s neural network, and the physical signifier of the presence of the sacred and ancestral souls of the Nav’i.
  3. The Contrast of Capitalistic Greed and Pastoral Intimacy: the Military-Industrial mining of Pandora that acts as the reason to displace an indigenous people by force, coupled with the Nav’i’s strong connection to the planet, it’s feminine spirit, and their deep respect for all living things and resolve to defend them.

The Home Tree world of the Nav’i was an enormous living structure with towering branches that served as passageways through the Nav’i homeland. It was reminiscent of the Tree of Life and was filled with delightful creatures (like the spiral plant-like worms with beautiful plumes that would retract as soon as touched). There were also the Seeds of Eywa, the spirits of the Nav’i divinity: phosphorescent parasol-like creatures that are intimately connected to Eywa.

The Tree of Life appears in traditions throughout the globe. It connotes the interdependence of all life, and the common heritage (brotherhood and sisterhood) of all sentient beings. It symbolizes the mystical history of the Family of Humankind and the Family of All Creation. As I watched the film, I was impressed with the sense of filial feeling and accountability that the Nav’i express toward all life, including the life they take for food or in self-defense.

There was a clear allusion to Wisdom and Sophia in the characterization of Eywa, the divine presence. The Home Tree is a symbol of life before the “Fall,” an Eden of beauty and youthful exuberance, filled with an authentic sense of awe before the Sacred: a pristine and simpler world threatened by the harsh and violent intrusion of weapons of war and technologies of death.


Read Full Post »