Wednesday, February 17, 2016

X-Files' Pietà

The X-Files, 10:5, "Babylon," first broadcast 2.15.2016.

There are many ways to view the world, and a deeper level of reading The X-Files demonstrates that Chris Carter is creating art. A televised metaphor for the Year 2016, using conspiracies, enlightenment, adoption, metaphysical imagery, and relationships, the revival serves as a canvas for stirring everyone's own personal issues as Carter sends out his twilight, or in some cases, such as above, obvious messages. Never go with your first reaction to The X-Files. Wait for it to show you its soul.

Revelation 14:8 

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

Christopher Loring Knowles of the Secret Sun, notes the following on Facebook:

Descent into the Underworld - Noora ("Light") descends to communicate with Shiraz.
If you didn't get Babylon, you should investigate the ancient Mystery religions, which are at the core of X-Files Mythology. Chris Carter upped the ante in a way I never thought he would by making what was always implicit totally explicit. The Mystery religions were based on the use of hallucinogens like magic mushrooms, all deified Mother goddesses (Mulder's revelation about "Mother Love") and had as their central myth the "descent to the Underworld".  
From the Wiki: "The descent to the underworld is a mytheme of comparative mythology found in a diverse number of religions from around the world. The hero or upper-world deity journeys to the underworld or to the land of the dead and returns, often with a quest-object or a loved one, or with heightened knowledge. The ability to enter the realm of the dead while still alive, and to return, is a proof of the classical hero's exceptional status as more than mortal. A deity who returns from the underworld demonstrates eschatological themes such as the cyclical nature of time and existence, or the defeat of death and the possibility of immortality."

The Cigarette Smoking Man appears to be wiping slaves crossing the River Styx as the boat makes its Descent into the Underworld.

The River Styx

In Greek mythology, Styx is a deity and a river that forms the boundary between Earth and the Underworld (the domain often called Hades, which also is the name of its ruler). The rivers Styx, Phlegethon, Acheron, Lethe, and Cocytus all converge at the center of the underworld on a great marsh, which sometimes is also called the Styx. According to Herodotus, the river Styx originates near Feneos. Styx is also a goddess with prehistoric roots in Greek mythology as a daughter of Tethys, after whom the river is named and because of whom it had miraculous powers.

Mulder confronts the Mysteries.

Fox Mulder's "Mush" "Room" was based on Trace Atkins' "Honky" "Tonk."

Why fear doppelgängers?

Is everything as it appears?

I recommend The Secret Sun Guide to the X-Files MythologyParts 12, and 3 by Christopher Knowles.

I have been documenting my thoughts on The X-Files for 21 years, since my (Loren Coleman's) cover article, "The Truth Behind The X-Files," (Fortean Times #82, Aug-Sept 1995) was first published.


Super Comic Fun Time! said...

I would have really been disappointed in this episode if not for the symbolic language. This was the Return of the Lone Gunmen. And they are in the underworld. I would have missed them being there if Mulder hadn't of mentioned seeing them.

Overall, a strange and unsettling episode although I couldn't say why, exactly.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for noting this. I think the episode is a lot deeper than it appears at first and a lot of people missed these elements. If one is not familiar with Pieta I can see how it would just seem like a weird scene on a boat. But Chris Carter is making a bold statement.

A more recent example of using Pieta is Luis Jiménez' fiberglass Southwest Pieta, which was blending Mexican tradition of Ixtaccihuatl and Popcateptl with Christian art. Blending these themes is not just representational art, it is making statements about religion and culture and the human condition.