Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Blade Runner: 30 Years of Synchromysticism - Part 2 (Aztec-Mayan Symbolism)

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. Jung
Over 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.

I once noticed Fortean researcher, cryptozoologist and author Ivan T. Sanderson (1911-1973) had been pictured with a sawfish rostrum at his New Jersey's SITU headquarters. Above is Sanderson's conversation/living room area in his so-called "mansion house," with the sawfish rostrum, photos by Richard Grigonis.

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).
What is a sawfish rostrum doing in Blade Runner? I did a little research, and quickly found a link that may explain its placement.

The most frequently found large animal artifacts interred beneath the center of the Aztec universe were sawfish rostra. Above is pictured a rostrum of the sawfish Pristis pectinata in Offering 58 of the Great Temple, photo courtesy of CNCA-INAH-MEX. Used as tools of sacrifice, these rostra symbolized the blood-spilling swords that fed Cipactli. The ruins of the Aztec Great Temple was discovered in 1978 beneath the central plaza of Mexico City. This pyramid was the center of the Aztec cosmic order and used to sustain the gods. Among the offerings were the sawfish rostra. Among the codices art, there were the stylized sawfish rosta (directly below).

The Aztec-designed sword was made in imitation of the sawfish's rostrum. Matthew T. McDavitt wrote in the Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department's Shark News (March 2002), on their significance:
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

In the Blade Runner, the twin towers of the Tyrell Corporation dominate the landscape. They are pyramids. 

Blade Runner



The pyramids appear to have been based specifically on Aztec-Mayan temple pyramids, on top of which were made human sacrifices (using sawfish rosta and rostra-modeled swords by the Aztecs). In general, Aztecs, which came after the Mayas, had the simpler top on their pyramids, as did the Tyrell/Blade Runner pyramids. The movie's structures are clearly not Egyptian (below) in nature.

Behind the scenes, we do know that one pyramid model was apparently used for the illusion of two.
The model of Tyrell's pyramid was 9 feet at the base and 2½ feet high. This was a ratio of 1:750. The model ultimately caught fire and melted.
You may have noticed a Tyrell pyramid in a three-part 2009 TV British miniseries, Red Dwarf: Back to Earth. On the right, a very Blade Runner-like pyramid, appears rising out of the landscape of London (visible with Big Ben and the House of Parliament).

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 Insight mentions the Mayan influences and beyond:
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.
Deckard's Mayan Apartment 

Los Angeles' Ennis-Brown House was used in one drive up scene, and as the studio inspiration for shooting in Rick Deckard's apartment. The style used is called Mayan Revival, and the Mayan influence is undeniably strong in the employment of the glyphs throughout.

Deckard's apartment, drawn by set designer Charles William Breen and built on stage at Warner Brothers, was inspired by the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Ennis-Brown House. Breen actually had plaster casts taken from the textile blocks of the Wright-designed house and used them for the walls in the stage set. 

Governor's Palace at Uxmal

Wright designed the house in 1923, and built it in 1924. He based the relief ornamentation on its textile blocks, inspired by the symmetrical reliefs of Mayan buildings in Uxmal.

The Ennis-Brown House was in shambles before the 2007 restoration began.

Newly restored.
Bradbury Moments

Blade Runner in the Bradbury Building

The Bradbury Building is an architectural landmark in downtown Los Angeles, California. Built in 1893, the building was commissioned by LA mining millionaire Lewis L. Bradbury and designed by local draftsman George Wyman.

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. 

After the episode, Wyman took the job, and is now regarded as the architect of the Bradbury Building. Wyman's grandson, the science fiction publisher Forrest J. Ackerman, owned the original document containing the message until his death. Coincidentally, Ackerman was a close friend of science fiction author Ray Bradbury.
Wyman was especially influenced in constructing the building by the 1887 science fiction book Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, which described a utopian society in 2000.

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.

In 1979, William S. Burroughs wrote Blade Runner (a movie), the rights of which Ridley Scott bought for the title of his Blade Runner. In the novel/screenplay, Burroughs and then Scott in 1982 film, both of them use, as Todd Campbell writes,
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." 

Campbell shares various intriguing synchromystic links, and continues:
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.

One last Bradbury coincidence during this Blade Runner 30th anniversary month. The Red Planet author (The Martian Chronicles), Ray Bradbury, died on June 5, 2012. 

Sources on linkages and symbolic connections in Blade Runner are to be found in the hundreds throughout the Internet, and specifically include, but are not limited to such good resources as Gary Willoughby's important article on Deckard's apartment, Blake Runner Insight, an essay at "Everything2," and Todd Campbell's two-parter (here and here).

Glossary ~

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 was first coined by Jake Kotze in August 2006, on his website-at-the-time, Brave New World Order. Kotze defined the concept as: "The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

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.

The term synchros (short for synchromystic practitioners) was coined by Loren Coleman at the Twilight Language blog to capture the spirit of the researchers, chroniclers, and bloggers who employ active synchromystic analysis, in the tradition of James Shelby Downard and other twilight language intellectuals (as noted here).

Synchros examine the world through a variety of methodologies, including the following:

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.


Anonymous said...

There seems to be alot of talk about a Blade Runner, Prometheus, and also Avatar merger...


Django said...

I'm reminded of the Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright) designed Snowden-Franklin house that Black Dahlia suspect Dr. George Hodel lived in:



Compare the Black Dahlia Elizabeth Short with Sean Young in Blade Runner:



theo paijmans said...

In connection with Blade Runner, I commented in the past how the Bradbury building is also featured prominently in the film noir D.O.A. (1950).

This film also has limited lifespan as its theme. A man gets to live 24 hours. He is poisoned by persons unknown, by imbibing a 'luminous toxin'. He dies in the end. The film begins with him walking into the police station reporting his own murder. Oddly, the police seem to expect him and already know who he is.

The mystery of the man's poisoning involves stolen iridium.

Iridium has atomic number 77 (I won't delve into the significance of this number in occult circles). Discovered in 1803 it was named by its discoverer after the goddess Iris, messenger of the gods, personified as a rainbow or a young maiden with wings. Iridium is usually found in meteorites.

Best regards,


MediaMonarchy.com said...

there's a great interview w/ sean young that was posted recently by red ice radio: Sean Young: Blade Runner, Dune & Awakening to the Conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

I see you are friends with Bill Grimstad Loren, so I must ask if you can please beg him to republish "The Rebirth of Pan", so I don't have to spend $500 on a used copy. I must read this book!

Red Pill Junkie said...

I believe the Tyrell corporation building was inspired not by Aztec or Mayan pyramids, but by the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan.

Teotihuacan means "the place where men became gods" in Nahuatl.

What's the easiest way to prove you've acquired godhood status? by creating life, of course. A theme that's central in 2012's Prometheus.

Loren Coleman said...
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Loren Coleman said...
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Anonymous said...

loren, have you ever investigated paranormal sightings associated with the place name vernon or mt vernon?

Loren Coleman said...

Yes, one of the first cases I investigated of Napes in Illinois was the incident in 1941, where the Reverend Marsh Harpole was hunting squirrels in the Gum Creek bottoms, near Mt. Vernon. Harpole encountered a large creature that "looked something like a baboon." He struck it with his gun and fired a warning shot that sent it scrambling back into the woods. More sightings of the same apelike beast occurred the next year in southern Illinois.