Friday, 25 July 2008
Batman and the Odinic Archetype
Saw the new Batman - The Dark Knight yesterday. What a great film.
The Heath Ledger creation of The Joker is superb.
As I watched the film I was reminded of the book The Werewolf Complex by Denis Duclos as the Joker captures the essence of the darkness of the Odinic archetype.
The Joker has no identity, no background - he just appears, the same as the archetype of the dark side of Odinism.
Just like Odin the Joker is an agent of chaos, a force unleashed to destroy a sick society and to make way for a new order.
Until he appears in Gotham City the Joker does not exist - just like an individual 'possessed' by an archetype one minute they are 'normal' (eg repressed, sick and degenerate) the next they become a force for an ancient archetype that was once worshipped by our people.
The Joker exists above good and evil, he is simply an instrument of destruction. He does not seek to create anything from the chaos he unleashes, his role is simply to unleash chaos.
This is the same as the role of the Berserkers on the battlefield, their role was to unleash chaos and war, to kill and conquer.
The Joker in the film admits he has 'no plan' and that is another example of the archetype of Odin, in that because the archetype is unconscious it is beyond the conscious understanding of the conscious mind - it serves the life force and is therefore a consciousness millions of years old and its intent is beyond any understanding of the human ego.
Its plan is the plan of aeons, beyond the simple lifespan of an individual human being.
Heath Ledger by unlocking this arhcetype unleashed a darkness within himself he was unable to control.
In order to control the archetype he needed to understand the 'Sun' side of the archetype, that of the Odinic veneration of nature and the love for folk, family, the forests and the fields. The shadow of Odin is just one aspect of his divine nature, for the other aspect is personified by the wandervogel movement of the early 1930's and the Hippie movement of the 1960's established by the scions of the German wandervogel movement in California after the war.
Heath needed to purge himself of the shadow of the Joker, but he did not know how to do that.
Heath never knew he was channeling an archetype, and therefore he was swept away by it.
He needed to get into the countryside, camping and just commune with nature.
The Joker in mythic terms is the same as the Fool, the Trickster, Loki and the other 'insane divine fools' of the mythic past from Merlin to the Fool in English folk festivals. There is even a scene where the Joker wears a dress, a classic reference to the cross dressing shaman of the tribes, the berdache of Native American tradition and the shapeshifter, and a direct link to the fool of English folk tradition who wears a dress and carries a sickle representing death.
He represents an upwelling of primal energy that seeks to sweep away the conceits of modern man, he is meant to remind us of the natural laws that we think we can break but which ultimately break our civilisation.
The Joker is a warning for man, a symbol of mans trangression from nature and an instrument uneashed as punishment for his crimes.
The Joker as created by Heath Ledger is himself an archetypal image, and though Heath is dead the power of his creation, and the mantic frenzy he represents, will empower that archetype.
The Joker stands at the border of the world of man and the world of the occult, he is a channel for primal forces, a daemonic and chthionic figure, and thanks to Heath Ledger he now walks the world in the minds of men.
He is the 'lightning that licks the earth' as Neitzsche described, and a portent of the darkness about to be unleashed.
Men think they control the symbols they create in their art and on the movie screens, when in reality those symbols control Man.
In an age of war, terrorism, resource conflicts, disease and violence the Joker is the symbol of mans nemesis unleashed upon himself by his own hubris.