Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Janus, Mars and the Evolutionary Triad

This post is a continuation of themes brilliantly explored by the researcher Mike Clelland over at his blog, Hidden Experience.  He covers a wide-range of fascinating interconnections from Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, to the mysterious Watchers, to the Arizona mass-shootings in which U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at point-blank range and miraculously survived.  The blog post muses on the odd synchronicities between all these elements and speculates about the nature of humankind’s physical and spiritual evolution. 

As Mike Clelland states in his mind-bending ‘The Evolutionary Triad’ post: “The drama of evolution is played out in the book of Genesis, as well as in Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. And the drama of synchronicity is played out seemingly everywhere, and things can end up getting intertwined in mysterious ways.

Mike’s post brings up the interesting fact that a doctor named Dave Bowman was present at the scene of the Giffords shooting, made stranger still by the fact that her husband is a NASA astronaut, and the fact that her husband has an identical twin brother who is also an astronaut, and shared his shuttle’s name DISCOVERY with Bowman’s ship in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  I don’t wish to reiterate all of the fascinating points that Mike Clelland covers in his post, I want to offer a few of my own.

After recently watching the film Rise of the Planet of the Apes and rereading Mike’s Evolutionary Triad post, I got the feeling that there was more to intuit from the connections that Mike suggests – particularly the strange twin motif in regards to the NASA astronauts Mark Kelly and his twin brother Scott.

The name Mark means, ‘of the God Mars’, or ‘consecrated to mars’. And the word Kelly is often translated as ‘war, strife; bright-headed’, and according to Wikipedia is also taken to mean ‘frequenter of churches’.  So the astronaut Mark Kelly has a name that can be legitimately interpreted as ‘Consecrated to the bright-headed god of war and strife; Mars’, or even ‘Frequenter of Churches consecrated to the god Mars’.

Now, with regards to Mark Kelly’s twin, Scott Kelly - the name Scott is from the Latin Scoti, meaning a Gaelic-speaker or Scotsman, Celt or painted warrior.  But the term is ultimately of uncertain origin.  However, we can use it in its broadest definition to interpret Scott Kelly’s name as something like ‘Bright-headed, Painted Warrior of War’.

I find this interesting given that the astronauts are twins.  One is figuratively consecrated to Mars, god of War, and the other is a figurative Warrior.  Might we then take a further imaginative leap to suggest that this implies a dual functioning to a singular symbol; a god, half divine, half mortal – expressed in the twin motif and semiotic resonance of their names?  Two faces to represent different aspects of the same symbol?  If we can allow ourselves this speculation it then makes me think inevitably of Janus, the double-faced Roman god. 

Here’s a quote from Wikipedia about Janus:

In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, thence also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time. He is usually a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past. […] Janus was also involved in the spatial aspect of transitions as that of presiding over home doors, city gates and boundaries. […] January is named after Janus the god of the doorway; the name has its beginnings in Roman mythology, coming from the Latin word for door (ianua) – January is the door to the year.

Stay with me, dear reader.  Here’s where it gets interesting, in light of the Mars context of the astronaut Mark Kelly’s name.  Check out another Wikipedia quote about the Roman cult of the Salii who also revered the double-faced god Janus:

The rites of the Salii marked the springtime beginning of the war season in March and its closing in October. The structure itself of the ‘patrician sodalitas’, made up by the two groups of the Salii Palatini, who were consecrated to Mars and […] reflects in its division the dialectic symbolic role they played in the rites of the opening and closing of the military season.  So does the legend of their foundation itself: the peace loving king Numa instituted the Salii of Mars Gradivus foreseeing the future wars of the Romans.    

So, here we have a cluster of associations linking the astronauts Mark Kelly and his twin brother to the Roman god Mars, war, Janus and the Roman cult of the Salii.  Here’s where it gets even weirder: when was the date of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting?  January Eighth – the eve of the Agonium; Janus’ official day of celebration that took place on January Ninth.  The Agonium was a celebration of doors and gateways as symbolised by Janus in ascendancy after the winter solstice, and the sacrifice of a ram was usually offered.

Seeing as how Janus was the god of beginnings, gateways and spatial transitions, the fact that the twin brothers Mark and Scott Kelly are astronauts is extremely evocative, and compelling.  Of what though?  What are we sensing here beneath the surface? 

If we are going to be as lucid as possible in our speculative foray, doesn’t this Janus twin-theme lead us all the way back to Dave Bowman at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey?  While in the strangely-lit white room, Bowman has a non-linear experience just before his transformation into the star-child, where he is in the bed, old and dying, and also sitting in a chair – watching himself in the bed.  This non-temporal, discontinuous experience evokes Janus because Bowman has recently passed through the mother of all gateways; the star-gate, and is about begin a new transition into a completely re-imagined lifeform as the star-child. 

So, what are we to make of this?  I feel that there are deeper insights to be gained from this compelling if tenuous set of associations and odd connections.  We might even draw connections between the previously mentioned Mars associations and Hal’s inhuman glowing red eye, Mars being the red planet.   Frankly, this makes me think of Ancient Astronaut Theory in connection with NASA and all the strange details and unanswered questions about the planet Mars.

Since Janus is the god of doors, gates, beginnings and transitions – we can intuit a connection to the Evolutionary Triad that Mike Clelland explores in his fascinating blog-post.  After all, mythically speaking, if there is something meaningful in this triad concept of ‘proto-human, modern man, fetus/star-child/alien’ – then Janus would be presiding over each stage of this evolution, its beginnings and its transitions into each successive stage, as one doorway opens into another and then another. 

Also, the Gabrielle Giffords shooter was a man named Jared Lee Loughner. The name Jared means ‘he who descended’, or ‘he who shall rule’, and Jared is the name of Enoch’s father in biblical mythology.  Mike Clelland touches on the Book of Enoch in his post, highlighting that the text attempts to explain away the mysterious Watchers as fallen angels.  So, more strange synchronicities abound.

At the very least, speculative associations like the ones covered here are interesting expressions of the creative, combining faculty of the human mind.  But perhaps there is more to the living language of synchronicity than we can fully comprehend.  Perhaps sometimes we can sense it and catch glimpses of its strange, elusive poetry, and yet it remains just outside of our full comprehension.  Maybe this function of synchronicity is evolutionary in and of itself – pushing us ever further towards spiritual growth and lateral creativity.  

*Thanks to Mike Clelland for writing such a fascinating essay to which I humbly add my speculations.