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Was Noah a Shaman?

If you haven’t seen Darren Aronofsky’s Noah yet, do yourself a favour and see it. It’s copping a lot of criticism from atheists & believers alike, both sides completely missing the point of storytelling and mythology. Allegory isn’t that hard to find in the dictionary. It’s their loss, Noah is a fantastic movie.

Sir Anthony Hopkins, who plays Noah’s grandfather Methuselah, gave this brief but fascinating interview about his approach to playing Methuselah, the film’s shamanic themes, & why he gave Noah a hallucinogenic brew to speak with God. I have an inkling Aronofsky’s read Persephone’s Quest by R Gordon Wasson (Amazon US/UK), and possibly The Holy Mushroom by J.R. Irvin (Amazon US/UK). Professor Benny Shannon suggested a few years back that Moses may have been on a psychedelic trip when he received the Ten Commandments, so the idea of entheogens influencing Judeo-Christian religion has been around for a while. Combining Noah’s visions, psychedelic trip, and affinity for all creatures great and small, Aronofsky has certainly built a case for a Biblical shaman.

Russell Crowe drinking a psychedelic beverage when he thought he was getting a nice cup of tea is just one reason why Noah is a lot deeper than just the flood myth (uh, pardon the pun). The film Noah began as a graphic novel (Amazon US/UK), and although both the comic (gorgeously illustrated by Niko Henrichon) and the film follow the Biblical story fairly faithfully, there are enough differences to make them completely different beasts. io9 recently spoke with Aronofsky and co-writer Ari Handel about creating Noah, and why it should appeal to atheists, believers, and everyone in between.

[quote=Darren Aronofsky]… you don’t need to be Jewish or Christian or even religious to be familiar with the Noah story or be moved by the idea of a universal flood punishing mankind for our wickedness and threatening to wipe us out for good. That’s part of our cultural heritage. It’s buried deep. And like all deeply ingrained stories it continually gets retold and reinvented with each telling. Hopefully our telling resonates with all sorts of people, Jewish or Christian, atheists or believers.[/quote]

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  1. Huh…
    I was wondering why my ΓΌber-fundamentalist auntie was ranting about this movie, whereas my comic geek cousin urged me to go watch it! πŸ˜‰

    1. Easter Egg Hunting
      This is a book that I forgot I even had:

      It’s fairly technical and has numerous figures.

      The Sacred Magic of Ancient Egypt is another source of insight:

      And here’s one more interesting title that I don’t own, but it’s recent and intriguing:

      The descriptions includes, “Explores the shamanic journeys that ancient Egyptian priests used to view the unconscious and the afterlife.”

      This was sent to me last month by my friend David Gittens ( Happy Easter!

      … and for the younger shamans, here’s a mix tape that just came out last Valentine’s, but seems equally appropriate for Easter fertility rites. Extra credit if you figure out who the artist is!

  2. 4 Pills Out of 5
    So I decided to go watch Noah last night, after being left wondering about this movie by Rick’s post & my cousin’s comment.

    It was great! I loved how they made it feel like a post-apocalyptic movie set in the future, when it’s actually a PRE-apocalyptic story set in the distant past. George Lucas would’ve approved ;)(*))

    (*) Actually, he would’ve messed everything by over-explaining the story of the fallen angels & adding a needless battle between Sem & Cam, so let’s leave it at that πŸ˜›

  3. Noah: Rise of an Empire
    Hi RPJ,

    Been awhile since I clocked in at TDG. The only thing I’ve published recently is a study that shows (among other things) that Persian King Xerxes had a very strong Noetic typecasting. It makes for coincidental commentary, not only with respect to this movie but the sequel to 300.

    (Scroll down to Part IV of the study to see the bit on Noah and his Egyptian and Greek counterparts, Minh and Pan. This is Noah like you’ve never known him. To put it plainly, Noah was a freak!!)

    1. Woah… I mean, Noah
      Hey Charles,

      It’s kinda difficult for a layman to follow your argument, but it seems that you posit Xerxes wanted to cast himself as the god of several different religions, and then this having a further influence in the gospels.

      Could it be that the similarities between all these stories & myths stem from a ‘canonical’ way to interpret religious myths in the ancient world. Like the way many movies nowadays tend to be so similar, because they follow the ‘blockbuster’ format? πŸ™‚

  4. Getting to Know-ah, Getting to Know All About Him …
    It’s refreshing to see a new interpretation of Noah being put forth in a blockbuster format. There is definitely a side to the Biblical Patriarchs that we weren’t taught in Sunday School. They were pagans (pantheistic) in every sense of the word, and proud of it. The Bible hints at this, but now we are becoming initiates who are entitled to view their complete profiles.

    Likewise, there is a side to royal culture that we have been too brainwashed to recognize. Xerxes was supposedly a Zoroastrian, but was also operating within an established pantheistic tradition. He was revering all the gods (or as many as possible) by re-enacting their stock roles. He in turn became a role model for kingly/messianic figures to follow, especially Alexander, Caesar and Jesus, but also even Muhammad. What links them all is a shared royal culture that could shape-shift the expected “divine typecasting” at will to whatever context was required, whether it be Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Jewish, or whatever.

    1. Drugs and the Divine
      What’s less clear is whether or not the royal family actually believed the gods were still a force to be reckoned with. Considering that they put themselves forth as the incarnations of the gods on Earth, I would guess not. They were more interested in controlling the population and channeling the worship/reverence of the people toward themselves! And I’m quite sure they had no qualms with drug use, either directly or through their priests. There is an interesting reference in Plutarch advising the royal/aristocratic person to “trust nothing except that which comes to you at night.”

        1. “While You See A Chance (You Take It)”
          There can be no denying the strong interest in the occult by royals in all ages. It is denounced by the Bible, such as in the story of King Saul’s conjuring of “familiar spirits” in a time of crisis, but the practice obviously continued. (Do as we say, not as we do?) It seems to take the place of direct communication with the gods (ET or whatever), which was still remembered but no longer considered possible. Since just about everything humans do or did was imprinted upon us in the time of the gods, it is reasonable that Shamanism also had been practiced by the gods, but likely with far better results (due to greater understanding of the science behind it).

          During the historical period, kings kept the memory of the gods alive (and justified their own rule) by re-enacting the behaviors and exploits of the gods. It was primarily linguistic sutra kama. The real powers had been lost and replaced by drama.

          For example, rather than state directly that so-and-so had to go, the king simply related that he had had a vision that so-and-so was going to have a little accident. A king could not be allowed to fail, so his attendants took the cue and did the dirty work. The king retained his “blamelessness.” It always made unpleasant royal decision more tolerable to produce some sign that it was divinely ordained and therefore inevitable. Our leaders still use the same techniques today. Does that mean that we cannot have genuine premonitions? I wouldn’t go that far, but the fact that people believe in premonitions can be a very useful thing!

          “When even you don’t quite believe you. That’s when nothing can deceive you …” -Steve Winwood

          1. Noah, the Beautiful New Yorker of His Generation
            RPJ, interesting positive press that you posted today about the Noah film:


            I still won’t be going to the theater to see it. I know what teenagers do in movie theaters.

            The theme that Noah and a select few only survived as an act of defiance (of one god Ea/Enki against his superior Enlil and the rest of the pantheon) is one that has shocked me ever since it was made obvious by Sitchin and his commentaries on the Mesopotamian Flood Myths. Tellingly, the covenant that God extends to Noah in the Bible is a far cry from the one he made with Adam and Eve, who were commanded to subdue (i.e., dominate) the Earth. Consistent with his down-scoped importance Noah does not set off in pursuit of world conquest, but a good buzz. And we know what happens next! The Genesis narrative in effect curses the re-establishment of kingship (as the work of greedy bum-rushers) and exposes the royal family as being evil imposters. And although the human race remains an abandoned and probably doomed species, the self-imposed authorities continue to prevent us from consoling ourselves with the mood altering substances of our choice!

          2. Covenant
            Well, I’m giving you a mild spoiler here, but when Noah goes to visit granny Methuselah, he reveals his vision of how the Creator is going to destroy the world with water.

            Methuselah: “Water? My father [Enoch] told me it would be fire”

            Implying the REAL end of the world hasn’t come to pass yet. Giant meteor? Solar flare? Take your pick πŸ˜‰

          3. Why Good People Don’t Know When Bad Stuff is Going to Happen
            What struck me odd with all of the 2012 hype was that no one seemed to be asking, “How do we know that this is the year the Mayans would have considered the last of their cycle?” In fact, we don’t know what year it is in the Mayan Calendar. Ironically, our only saving grace may be that we are off so badly (and have a little more time than thought to brace ourselves for the next “main event”). The Mayans were obsessed with chronology, but it is not a priority at all among modern people. Academia has actually steeled itself against any further attempts to revise the Standard Chronology. Very enlightened, wouldn’t you say?

          4. Keeper of the Time
            Not just the Mayas, right? Every major civilization was heavily invested with keeping with the pass of days, carefully recording the movements of constellations & the precession of the equinox.

            But now we’re modern people! And we mock at the movements of the spheres with the Daylight Saving System πŸ˜‰

          5. “When You’ve Only Got a Hundred Years to Live”
            The Mayas seem to have been the most zealous and most accurate, but their system was a legacy from some previous civilization. Even in the Noah story, whatever event caused the Flood was expected 120 years or more in advance. The Mayas were tracking at least two cyclical phenomenon, probably long-period comets. One of these seems to have struck around 3114 BC, and marked the beginning of the Mayan Calendar. The last major one hit around 1159 BC.

            The astronomers are telling us that all the big comets, such as Encke, are now broken up and no longer a threat. But how can we know that for sure if we have lost track of the cycles? For example, the 1159 BC comet appears to have had a period of about 3150 (+/- 20) years, which means it was due on or before the year 2012, i.e., the end of the Mayan Calendar. Since it didn’t happen, are we then out of the woods? Not if something less than 3170 years have actually elapsed since its last appearance. But I don’t know of anyone who is trying to figure that out!

            Does Barbie really have 100 years?

          6. Amanganaki
            I’ve sometimes wondered if the proliferation of manga & anime is part of the alien hybridization program πŸ˜‰

          7. Don’t worry, we know everything already.
            I find it hilarious that people ostensibly trained in the scientific method would say such a thing. “All the big comets are broken up,” are they? Maybe they mean “all the big comets we know about” are broken up..?

            Perhaps they just don’t like how that wording makes people automatically envision giant darkmatter cometons lurking in the hinerlands of Sol, like ninjas waiting for the right time to strike.
            Or perhaps they don’t like the implication that they may not, in fact, Know Everything…

            Take a look at the various projected orbits of comet ISON to see what I’m getting at. Particularly the one they gave it just before it became Sol food(meheheh), when they had the largest amount of data to use in calculating it.

            A 500k – 600k year orbital period…yeah. Or maybe it was actually an interstellar object on what would have been a one-time pass through of Sol system, had it not disintegrated during its swing through the corona. Such objects do exist, and since they are not in an orbit around Sol, they are not cyclical and thus totally unpredictable. Wild gods.

          8. “I’d Rather Get Lucky Than Be Good”
            The priority seems to be on NEO’s at the moment rather than periodic threats. Science just hasn’t learned the importance of precise chronology … yet.

            Whatever ET’s brought about the human race either no longer care about us and are content to let this exercise in futility run its course (until the next mega-disaster)


            they do care about human life on Earth and are just letting us learn our lessons the hard way (which is one school of parenting, you know)


            they are just gathering data at the moment in preparation for the introduction (as RPJ suggests) of Homo Sapiens Sapiens 2.0.

            There really should be odds on this in Vegas!

          9. Maybe they weren’t so lucky?

            something has come along and punched their ticket, kicked their bucket, run down their curtains, joined them to the choir invisible.
            Presumably they are not omniscient/omnipotent/immortal. Perhaps they were overcome by some exceedingly badass virus analogue. Or maybe, in their explorations, they came across something or someone that stomped on them. Or maybe they divided by zero.

            One thing seems certain: there was a whole lot of “I shall return” promises made to various peoples across the globe that seem to have been broken. People of many religious beliefs are still awaiting a “return” of one kind or another. Those damn promises have played huge parts in shaping our history for the past several thousand years at least.

          10. Hostile Takeover
            Yes, perhaps we are under “New Management” and that’s why the giant “land claim marker” that is the Great Pyramid got trashed. It’s not my favorite possibility, but it is a possibility!

  5. The next encounter
    Greg, my apologies for my language in this post, and feel free to edit it,

    but I want to add a few words here about a real pack of swine, the God Damned F#$%ing Mars Nuts [edited]. Aside from the con men connected with Richard Kieninger, and my two half sisters, they’ve been a continuing source of aggravation for me over the years.

    As you know, you have liars and then you have god damn f%$#ing liars [edited]

    They are tightly aligned with the neo-con neo-fascists, and favor bad US relations with Russia and the rest of the world. They BELIEVE contrary to every fact around that the US by itself should simply fly a few men to Mars, and that we all should pay for it.

    They view the ISS as interfering with this delusional fantasy, and you can catch them in action in recent weeks.

    You see them piping in on the neo-con attack on the ARM mission.

    They do not care about dealing with the impact hazard, and they have their cronies who have foisted themselves off on the impact community.

    As near as I can make out, the Earth will be in the debris field of Comet Schwassman Wachmann 3 in 2022.

    These swine actually went so far as to prevent Hubble imaging of that debris stream on its most recent pass through the inner solar system, and need to be fired. Now.

    I see the effects of these pigs’ operations when I read the effects of their mis-infomation campaigns and hear their propaganda repeated again and again and again.

    1. Welcome back, EP
      No time no seen, EP. Nice to see you back, and sorry to learn your absence was health-related.

      What’s your take on the Mars ONE initiative, BTW?

      1. How to easily identify GDFMN
        What exactly is that phrase for “adult language”? “NSFW”, or something like that? So warning, NSFW content –

        Okay, here you go, the easy way to identify God Damn F#$%ing Mars Nuts – they try to present that toxic rock as “earth-like”. So any time you see Earth and Mars in the same sentence, you know you are dealing with them.

        Was Mars 1 the fly-by or the one way trip?

        I could write you a short book on Mars fly-by plans and architectures.

        One funny thing is that former NASA Administrator Dan Goldin not unrealistically thought NASA could pull off a manned Mars fly-by by the 2018 window.

        Then the God Damned F#$%ing Mars Nuts began their attacks on him.

        Now they are going after the ARM.

        They are that obsessed, and it is your life they are playing with.

        We are getting off the topic of their attack on the ARM as a way to attack Obama.

        But then the topic was the historical basis for the story of Moses, and ancient Near Eastern use of psychoactive factors.

        BTW, I got no beef with Elon Musk or anyone on any of his teams.

        The one way trip folks clearly demonstrate their insanity. Notice how no one in the “media” commented on it?

        1. “Earth-like”
          So I take it that you don’t buy into the argument that Mars was once a world very much like our own, with vast water reservoirs & capable of sustaining life?

          (And yeah, we are getting away from the main topic, which was the shamanistic undertones of Aronofsky’s portrayal of Noah. Maybe we should start a new thread)

          1. you got interests, then you got INTERESTS
            Hi rpj –

            Right now I am more interested in exactly where the next piece of shit from space headed toward the Earth is. And exactly what it is going to take to find it.

            It is a more pressing problem.

            Mars will still be there.

            I could tell you stories about the breaking of the ALH84001 fossil story… but that is way off topic.

            It is important whether any life survives deep below the surface of Mars, and if it presents any threat to Earth.

            Not only do the God Damn F****ng Mars Nuts don’t care about this, they will throw a tantrum if you bring it up, then generally make your life as miserable as they can.

            They also presume to themselves the right to bring about interplanetary contamination. They hold you and yours in that much contempt. Vicious swine, as Hunter Thomson would call them.

            These jerks are hoping that US-Russia relations worsen, bringing the ISS to an end, so they can use “their” space money to fly off to Mars.

            I hope you watched that video on the Ukrainian coup.

            Be sure to keep us all posted on the work on the impact mega-tsunami deposits in the Yucatan, and the work being done in Mexico on the comet impacts that killed off the mammoth and mastodon.

          2. B612 Foundation
            Hi RPJ –

            Yeah, I reported on it when it was first founded, and have met many of its principals.

            Essentially it’s a group of astronauts who are as fed up, disgusted, and alarmed with NASA’s performance in dealing with the impact hazard as I am.

            A very effective lobbying group.

            The problem is that dealing with this problem is going to take government resources, and navigating this through the evil self serving BS that is spewed by the God Damned F888888g Mars Nuts is extremely difficult.

            By the way, I have not been sick. There is a difference between wasting time on the internet and “real” work.

            Have you watched the video on the crisis in the Ukraine that I posted here? Have you watched it through to its very end?

          3. “Wasted time”
            Time spent on the Grail is NOT wasted, my good sir πŸ˜›

            I’ll check it out right now.

          4. Agree completely with that
            [quote=red pill junkie]Time spent on the Grail is NOT wasted, my good sir πŸ˜›

            I’ll check it out right now.[/quote]

            For me, you folks are certainly a great news filter.
            Gracias por su labor.

  6. Impact Mega-Tsunamis
    Hi all –

    Years ago, I spent some time trying to sort out what hit when and where in the Ancient Near East. I posted my studies to the Cambrdige Conference for immediate use by other impact researchers, and they may be found in the Cambridge Conference Archives and read there.

    My stroke in 2005, followed by dog attacks, prevented me from completing that work.

    Comet and Asteroid impacts were the reason why ancient peoples supported astronomy to the degree they did, to a far larger degree than that necessary for simple annual cycles.

    By the way, most of the structures are not primarily “observatories”, as the skies were known when they were constructed, but instead places of celebrations, usually annual.

    Various Nu-Agers with absolutely no understanding of the Maya shared their confusion about 2012, often times for profit.

    Orbital dynamics are far more complex than they pretend knowledge to.

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