Blade Runner: 30 Years of Synchromysticism - Part 2 (Aztec-Mayan Symbolism)
by Loren Coleman ©2012
Set in November 2019, director Ridley Scott's Blade Runner celebrates its 30th anniversary on June 25, 2012. Director Scott's immediate previous film was Alien (1979) and his most recent film, of course, is Prometheus (2012). These two films share with Blade Runner a look at our future worlds impacted by genetic engineers. Scott's 1982 American science fiction film is based on a Philip K. Dick short story, and stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young. For three decades, synchos (see definition at bottom) have found cinematic and real world coincidences, synchronicities, and linkages within this highly textured movie.
Ridley Scott has always maintained that Blade Runner is merely a piece of entertainment, nothing more, yet it is his "most complete and personal film." When Scott met Philip K. Dick during the post-production process, he specifically told Dick that he was not interested in "making an esoteric film."
Despite plans that did not include a journey to the "esoteric," Blade Runner's director seems to have not understood that synchronicity, as Carl Jung might observe, is something that Ridley Scott may have not seen coming his way. It just happens.
Synchronicity takes the coincidence of events in space and time as meaning something more than mere chance, namely, a peculiar interdependence of objective events among themselves as well as with the subjective (psychic) states of the observer or observers.
~ Carl G. JungOver the weekend, I watched the anniversary showings of the original 1982 Blade Runner and the 2007 "Final Cut" of Blade Runner on the Encore cable channel (repeat screenings are scheduled). Considering that the movie was set in 2019, it was intriguing to see how unimaginative the film's producers were only three decades ago about telephones, pay telephones, computers, and such. Everything was shown as retaining their then-contemporary bulkiness. Some innovative science fiction thinking was released in the flying urban vehicles and fashion, most of which has not really happened, and through grand corporate architecture, which has. In general, the film does hold up well, and is filled with synchromystic connections. It is one of my personal favorites.
Aztec Sawfish Rostrum
In Blade Runner, this time, one seemingly small item did jump out at me (I'd never noticed it in previous viewings), as seemingly out-of-place but symbolic. It was found in the apartment of Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). What I saw, momentarily, and identified quickly was a large-toothed sawfish (a type of ray, genus Pristis) rostrum (snout) mounted on Deckard's wall, below some glyphs.
When I saw one, decades ago, I obtained it. That sawfish rostrum is now displayed in the International Cryptozoology Museum today (seen in the middle of the midcentury installation, above).
In Aztec belief, the world had been founded on the premise of divine sacrifice. The gods had drained all their life-force into creation and no longer had the power to sustain themselves. In a kind of cosmic conservation of energy, the Aztecs believed that the sun could not rise, crops could not grow, and rain would not fall without the regular release of life energy back to their creators. To keep the gods alive, humans were obligated to feed them their blood and hearts, the most potent source of life energy. Although the Aztecs recognized hundreds of gods, these diverse deities were just manifestations of the primary forces of the universe such as sun and earth. The sun was a giver of life and a protector of the Aztec people. The earth however, was considerably more hostile....In reality, sawfish rostra appear commonly in the Aztec codices....In Aztec language, the sawfish rostrum was known as imacuauh "its sword"....Sawfish rostra are most often depicted as symbolic 'swords' in the shield / spear bundles which symbolize warfare in Aztec iconography. There is even a structural similarity between the Aztec glass-edged swords and the sawfishes' toothy appendage.Tyrell Corporation Buildings/Aztec-Mayan Pyramids
One other thing about some Mesoamerican pyramids is worthy of noting. At the equinoxes, the shadow of a Great Feathered Serpent (e.g. Quetzalcoatl) appears on the side of the pyramids, as seen here on the Mayan Chichen-Itza. Snake symbolism, overtly (as in Zhora and her snake) and covertly, is part of Blade Runner.
Blade Runner's...architecture reveals several different styles. The first few shots of the film show futuristic looking refineries, but then concentrate on a futuristic building that is a pastiche of Mayan architecture. The interiors of the Tyrell Corporation that are shown, however, are designed in an Establishment Gothic look. The police headquarters of the film was designed to echo the Art Deco look of the Chrysler Building, in New York City, and the Bradbury Building, in which the final chase scene of the film is set, is an architectural anomaly, built in 1883 by an architect heavily influenced by a utopian book he had read about the year 2000. Animoid Row, where Deckard goes to discover the origins of the snake scale, seems to resemble a Middle Eastern bazaar. Blade Runner’s presentation of Los Angeles in 2019 as a postmodern architectural entrepot accentuates the ahistorical nature of postmodernist art.
Wyman at first refused the offer, but then supposedly had a ghostly talk with his brother Mark Wyman (who had died six years previously), while using a planchette board with his wife. The ghost's message supposedly said "Mark Wyman / take the / Bradbury building / and you will be / successful" with the word "successful" written upside down.
In Bellamy's book, the average commercial building was described as a "vast hall full of light, received not alone from the windows on all sides, but from the dome, the point of which was a hundred feet above ... The walls and ceiling were frescoed in mellow tints, calculated to soften without absorbing the light which flooded the interior." This description greatly influenced the Bradbury Building.
The Bradbury Building (which serves as home to Toymaker/Replicant designer J.F. Sebastien), and eerily acts as a character in the film...directly across the street in downtown Los Angeles is the Million Dollar Theater which is also featured prominently in the film. And now, we take a detour down "The Street With No Name" or 5th and Main St. downtown Los Angeles to be precise...just around the corner from Blade Runner central we find the curious Rosslyn "Million Dollar" Hotel. Those of you up on your Templar lore will surely be tempted by the significance of Rosslyn (or Rose Line)."Rose Line," of course, is "red line."
The Rosslyn (built in and owned by the Hart Brothers) was once the largest building in downtown L.A., and had a rather odd feature...it actually consisted of two buildings joined only by an underground tunnel which connected the two.Adam Parfrey (coauthor of 2012's Ritual America), Bill Grimstad (author of 1978's Weird America) and I were recently talking about Blade Runner. They were reminded of the long ago plans of a LA subway system, and the bygone days of the old red line (humm, "Rosslyn") that was dismantled in 1961. Parfrey points out that the current subway downtown, called the Red Line (one of six color coded lines), is the "indirect descendant of the Pacific Electric Red Car."
In Blade Runner, the frequently used Bradbury Building, located at 3rd and S. Broadway, was a character, indeed, as was the 2nd Street tunnel that appears in the movie too.
Synchromystic = from Late Latin synchronus, from Greek sunkhronos, from syn- + khronos time + Middle English mistik, from Latin mysticus of mysteries, from Greek mystikos, from mystēs initiate
Synchromysticism is defined as the drawing of connections in modern culture (movies, music lyrics, historical happenings and esoteric knowledge); and finding connections that could be coming from the "collective unconscious mind"; and finding connections between occult knowledge (i.e. esoteric fraternities, cults and secret rituals), politics and mass media, according to Wiktionary.
Onomastics or onomatology is the study of proper names of all kinds and the origins of names. The word is Greek: ὀνοματολογία [from ὄνομα (ónoma) "name"].
Toponymy or toponomastics, the study of place names, is one of the principal branches of onomastics.
Anthroponomastics or anthroponymy, a branch of onomastics, is the study of anthroponyms (anthropos, "man," + onuma, "name"), the names of human beings.
Etymology is the study of the history of words — when they entered a language, from what source, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. In languages with a long detailed history, etymology makes use of philology, the study of how words change from culture to culture over time. The word "etymology" itself comes from the Ancient Athens ἐτυμολογία (etumologia) < ἔτυμον (etumon), “‘true sense’” + -λογία (-logia), “‘study of’”, from λόγος (logos), "speech, oration, discourse, word."
In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order. ~ Carl G. Jung.