In Watchmen, Jon Osterman dies to be reborn as Dr. Manhattan
As mentioned in Part 2 of this series, within a few pages of re-reading Kurt Vonnegut's book The Sirens of Titan, it became obvious that this work contained much of the source material for Alan Moore's Watchmen. Alan Moore is no stranger to the intentional use of symbolism and occultism, but that's not what I'm interested in looking at today. I want to see where his story overlaps with Vonnegut's and what that overlap means for our study of Ego-Death and the Death/Rebirth theme.
Sirens Page 13:
"Winston Niles Rumfoord had run his private space ship right into the heart of an uncharted chrono-synclastic infundibulum two days out of Mars. Only his dog had been along. Now Winston Niles Rumfoord and his dog Kazak existed as wave phenomena - apparently pulsing in a distorted spiral with its origin in the Sun and its terminal in Betelgeuse."
The Norway Spiral: A Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum?
Now, we could go off on the loaded symbolism of connecting a star in the Orion constellation with the sun - Orion contains the three stars that align with the great pyramids (the pyramids are mentioned in passing on Pg18 of Sirens); the Orion constellation is seen by some cultures as the gateway to the underworld or the home of the gods. Mythologically, Orion is connected with the Pomegranate (a symbol of death/underworld that was also seen in the Dali painting from Part One); is connected to Poseidon, the Dawn Goddess and the Moon deities; and on and on. I don't want to get off track so let's do a quick rundown: Orion is the hunter, depicted with dogs at his side (like Winston Niles Rumfoord), holds a lion (which will be important later), and was slain by either Scorpio or an arrow (depending on your preferred myth).
We can turn that arrow around since there are many myths involving "shooting arrows at the sun" such as this Pueblo tale: "The man transforms the Boy into an arrow and launches him to the Sun. Arriving in the Sun, his identity as the Lord's son is tested by passing through four ritual huts: the Kiva of Lions, the Kiva of Serpents, the Kiva of Bees, and the Kiva of Lightning."
Or what of the Chinese myth that solar eclipses were caused by the "dog of heaven" biting off a piece of the sun.
And we can't talk about Sun Dogs without thinking of Sirius, the Dog Star. Especially since Dr. Manhattan wears the circumpunct over his third-eye.
But for now let's focus on these tales of men getting scattered about the universe. Vonnegut's character gets "infundibulated," in a book written in 1959, he then re-materializes on Earth for one hour every 59 days. In Watchmen it's a scientific experiment gone awry that removes the intrinsic field from Jonathan Osterman in the year 1959. Jon tells his story in a chapter called "Watchmaker" and holds a watch while being pulled apart. Let's go back to Sirens of Titan for an explanation of what a chrono-synclastic infundibulum is anyway:
"These places are where all the different kinds of truths fit together as nicely as the parts in your Daddy's solar watch. We call these places chrono-synclastic infundibula....The poor man and his poor dog are scattered far and wide, not just through space, but through time, too. Chrono (kroh-no) means time. Synclastic (sin-class-tick) means curved toward the same side in all directions, like the skin of an orange. Infundibulum (in-fun-dib-u-lim) is what the ancient Romans like Julius Caesar and Nero called a funnel."
In Sirens, Winston gains all sorts of knowledge and power, seeing time and space as an open book. He upsets his wife by telling her events that will happen in the future. In Watchmen, Jon gains all sorts of knowledge and power, seeing time and space as an open book. He upsets his girlfriends by telling them events that will happen in the future.
Winston builds a city on Mars and concocts a Blue-Beam-type fake alien invasion to unite the planet. Jon builds a city on Mars while distracted from a concocted Blue-Beam-type fake alien invasion to unite the planet. And so on and so on.
Winston's wife is named Beatrice, who later goes by the name Bee. Jon's girlfriend is Laurie Jupiter, who wears a black and yellow outfit, like Uma Thurman's Killer Bee suit.
One of the biggest differences is that Winston has no control over his manifestations. He appears on Earth every 59 days and on Mars every 111 days. The 111 and 11:11 appear over and over and over in Vonnegut's work. I know these numbers are very loaded to some people. November 11th (11/11) is his birthday. New Year's Eve is mine. My initials, AJA, convert to 111 in numerology. Make of that what you will.
I had a woman from Spain write me asking what I thought of 11:11. This is what I wrote back to her: "As to 11:11 - it depends on who you ask. When it comes to Numerology, I think the person's perception plays a big part of it. So far, I've found that all things exist in extreme positive and negative mirrors. When I started looking at the number 88 as a negative sign, many positive forms of it started popping up everywhere, as if to assure me there was balance. When I started looking at the symbolism of Bees and Honey - I started seeing the symbols everywhere - both positive and negative. That's my short answer...But, I'd also look at Jake Kotze's study of K2. K is the 11th letter of the alphabet so 11:11 is K2. Watch the video 'The 911 pyramid mega-ritual' and two videos on 'Why K2?'"
Running with the K=11, for a moment, let's realize that in Sirens, Rumfoord's dog is named Kazak. K(11)A(1)Z(8)A(1)K(11) or 111-infinity-111.
The second time Jon "dies" he does so with an animal companion, like his predecessor, Winston
Check out this section of Vonnegut's Timequake, on page 177 (wink), in which he pretends to be in 2010, though he wrote the book in 1996: "The date yesterday was November 11th, 2010. I have just turned eighty-eight, or ninety-eight, if you want to count the rerun. My wife, Monica Pepper Vonnegut, says eighty-eight is a very lucky number, and so is ninety-eight. She is heavily into numerology." Another funny thing is that I have had a feeling that there was a temporal disturbance, or timequake, in 1998 for quite a while. As discussed in the March Madness post, apparently I am not alone in feeling that way. I even wrote a story years ago in which guys time travel from 2010 to 1998 and change history.
In Sirens and Watchmen, neither Winston nor Jon can time-travel per se. However, they can both see the future up until a fuzzy part. Winston is affected by Sunspots, Jon by Tachyons. Those may just be plot devices. Or, if you look into guys like this, who are studying hyper-symmetry along with solar activity, maybe not. Who knows?
Anyway, as mentioned, the biggest difference is that Winston has no control over his manifestations, in addition to Earth and Mars, he appears on Mercury every 14 days and also finds himself on the moon of Saturn called Titan - the very same Titan that Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke are all up on in the movie Gattaca, as discussed in Part One. The book goes on to explain that, "Whenever a heavenly body intercepted their spirals, Rumfoord and his dog materialized on that body. For reasons as yet mysterious, the spirals of Rumfoord, Kazak, and Titan coincided exactly. So Rumfoord and his dog were permenently materialized on Titan."
We can take this back to Osiris, who was himself scattered and put back together by the Moon goddess. Note also that there is a repeated reference in Sirens to "Moon Mist" cigarettes. If we look at that Lucky Charms box again we see a green man being scattered, bestowed with a moon phallus, and the four charms on the absolute lower right spelling out MIST. The text reads "Where will Lucky teleport next? Go to LuckyCharms.com to play a "mist-erious" new game. Enter this secret code for an added bonus: MIST."
For all the similarities between the Sirens and Watchmen, here Alan Moore changes things up with an interesting twist. After being scattered, Jon has to figure out how to piece himself back together:
This seems to completely coincide with the reentry period after Ego-Death, as described by Richard Alpert and others. Here's a young Richard talking about his own Ego-Death experience. Sounds like he's encountered an infundibulum or had his intrinsic field removed.
Note: This clip was also used in Zeitgeist, by the guys pushing the creepy Venus Project.
Richard Alpert, a resurrected man, taking us back to Venus again.
Richard Alpert, along with Timothy Leary and Ralph Metzner, wrote the book The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based On The Tibetan Book Of The Dead. In it, they explain how one pieces themselves back together at the end of their psychedelic session:
"Choosing the post-session ego is an extremely profound art and should not be undertaken carelessly or hastily...Use your foresight to choose a good post-session robot. Do not be attracted to your old ego."
"Normally the person descends, step by step, into lower (more constricted) states of consciousness."
"On the other hand, the voyager may also feel that he possesses super-normal powers of perception and movement, that he can perform miracles, extraordinary feats of bodily control etc. The Tibetan book definitely attributes paranormal faculties to the consciousness of the Bardo voyager and explains it as due to the fact that the Bardo-consciousness encompasses future elements as well as past. Hence clairvoyance, telepathy, ESP, etc. are said to be possible. Objective evidence does not indicate whether this sense of increased perceptiveness is real or illusory. We therefore leave this as an open question, to be decided by empirical evidence."
Remember, psychonaut Timothy Leary was Uma Thurman's mother's first husband! And they were introduced by Salvator Dali!
While some may find Tim Leary a bit controversial, I do believe he was trying to combine his newfound spirituality with his academic background. But, if Leary is not your cup of tea, fear not - as LSD shook academia, there were plenty of others trying to struggle with the implications of their research. Here is a fantastic documentary that is centered around a Canadian research trio and their work with schizophrenics.
I particularly like the metaphor, used within the film, of LSD being the equivalent of the Atom Bomb.
Mainstream science is beginning to catch up a little, with discoveries such as the recent "Dopamine System in Highly Creative People Similar to that Seen in Schizophrenics.""Fewer D2  receptors in the thalamus probably means a lower degree of signal filtering, and thus a higher flow of information from the thalamus," says Dr Ullén, and explains that this could a possible mechanism behind the ability of healthy highly creative people to see numerous uncommon connections in a problem-solving situation and the bizarre associations found in the mentally ill." Thinking outside the box might be facilitated by having a somewhat less intact box," says Dr Ullén about his new findings."
Quick caveat: I am familiar with MK-Ultra lore and understand the loaded nature of speaking about Ego-Death leading to anything seen as connected to multiple personalities or "alters." My current view is that MK works are done by those who understand the power of ego-death and misguide people through the process. In my book, Look At All The Happy Creatures, I wrote a chapter called "Leaving Kansas" in which a doctor performs a bit of MK mental-surgery through this exact method. The next day, Michael from Gosporn blogged about the possibility that Steve Jobs and the elusive "they" might want to feed the world LSD in a massive ego-death experience. It was that post that drove me to contact him and ask him for an interview (which you can and should listen to here). I believe ego-death to be full of wonderful potential, but I also have no doubt that it can misused. End caveat.
There is much talk lately of transcending duality, something Steve Wilner does a good job of talking up in the third, and in my opinion best so far, edition of Cracks in the Wall. Mike Clelland also just did an interview with Gibbs Williams, a psychologist who takes an academic look at meaningful coincidence and believes the phenomenon of synchronicity is the mind opening itself up from the world of black-and-white duality, to a world of colors - a world of added points of view and perceptions.
If you've seen Dr. Parnassus, you watched Heath Ledger in a movie which was all about transcending duality. Heath Ledger also played the card-bearing Joker in (the overtly Fascist, but rich in symbolic undertones) The Dark Knight - even calling out to every Mason's favorite blazing star:
The Dark Night of the Soul: Why so Sirius?
In Parnassus, Ledger is literally The Hanged Man. He is hanged a few times in the film (though by his neck, not his feet) and carries the The Hanged Man Tarot card in his pocket. In The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger's Joker ends up hung upside down at the end of the movie, exactly like the Tarot's Hanged Man.
In The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger, as the Joker, plays alongside the very representation of duality, Two-Face. If we go back a few years, Grant Morrison and MirrorMask artist Dave McKean, took us to Arkham Asylum in another project resonating with the binary star, A Serious House on Serious Earth.
There's a page in this book that looks a heck of a lot like the poster to The Crazies we looked at in the "March Madness" post, relating it to Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter's Mad Tea Party...and, guess what, the Mad Hatter is one of the inmates at Arkham in this story:
But that's the least of it. The psychologists in the comic book (click for higher res images) try to cure Two-Face's "obsession with duality" by replacing his two-sided coin with the cards of the Tarot, thus giving him not two choices but a world of colors. Both Jung and Timothy Leary placed importance on the Tarot.
Note the hexagon over Two-Face
You gotta love it. In attempt to give him more and more choices, to get him further from duality, they say, "Next we plan to introduce him to the I-Ching." The ancient I-Ching system is made up of 64 hexagrams. Psychedelic adventurer Terence McKenna used the I-Ching as the basis of his Timewave Zero, an attempt at charting temporal novelty in the book The Invisible Landscape, which was one of the first sources to place importance on a 2012 event.
In this video, explaining some of his theories, we see some familiar phrases. McKenna relates the Atom Bomb to wide-spread LSD use as a low and high points on his chart. He also says that, when a time machine is built, it will have to use mathematics such as this. And, of course, he describes the wind-down of the Timewave as a tightening spiral. Plus, keep your eyes peeled for a lot of flashing images that we discuss here, such as the Ringling Bros. poster at around 6 minutes, 18 seconds.
I should add that the Batman comics were some of the first stories to ever use the idea of time travel as a mental ability:
1942 with scientist Carter Nichols - CN is a one letter slide from BM (which is also 42)
And Grant Morrison, author of the Arkham Asylum book, is currently writing a six-part story where Bruce Wayne (or BM flipped), also known as BatMan, is traveling through time.
The BM in place of the 2001 Monolith or Stargate (with Volcano in background)
The story includes a spaceship crash in prehistoric times:
And once the craft is discovered, a long-winded conversation begins about the ship's particular color blue.
I also see a connection between the name Arkham (Ark-Ham) and the plush Pig given to Dr. Parnassus' granddaughter, in a restaurant called Rain, at the very end of the movie.
One of my more recent thoughts about post-ego-death-consciousness was that perhaps we should be incorporating knowledge from all types of consciousness, such as Animal and Plant consciousness. The thought was that, what is classically thought of as the dueling natures of man's Animal-side and Human-side, is an unnecessary argument and, furthermore, incomplete at that. The ideal consciousness then, would be a chimera, an amalgamation of all of these intellects. That was what I was thinking about when I saw a post at the SyncWhole, that mentioned the Wheel of Fortune and the blue Sphinx sitting atop it.
With the Sphinx we have another Blue Man that has pieced himself together out of the best parts of the universal material. Oh, and let's not forget, in Watchmen, the second time Dr. Manhattan experiences ego-death, he takes a hybrid-cat with him!
In Sirens of Titan, there is another character that pulls all of this together. His name is Boaz. The name Boaz of course comes from the pillars Jachin and Boaz, from Solomon's Temple that housed the Ark of the Covenant, and is at the center of the 9/11 Stargate as laid out by Jake Kotze.
The pillars are also featured on the High Priestess Tarot card:
Are used as a symbol of Masonry:
Seen here on a Masonic apron with the beehive at the base of one and a death's head at the base of the other:
Here we have the the pillars on a first-degree Masonic tracing board, placed within a wheel-of-fortune:
The pillars entrain with our cat, the lion (cats also being used euphemistically to refer to women's genitalia):
They are even used in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, in the books introduction, along with an Alice in Wonderland quote!
I have come to view these two pillars as symbolic of spread legs, perhaps being used in a large-scale fertility ritual by mystery schools and/or secret societies, but I believe it is also being used by the collective unconsciousness to speak of ego-death and ensuing rebirth. I will go into detail on this in the 5th and final segment of our Birds and the Bees series.
For now, just consider if you will, the pillars as two large legs along with me. Now look at the masculine predecessor to the Statue of Liberty (the representation of Venus-Isis), the Colossus of Rhodes, standing upon two pillars to exaggerate the point. Consider that the Masons, a male fraternity, include a third, small pillar (or phallus) in their tracing boards. And here he has his legs spread to receive Venus, known as "our lady of the sea."
Note the ship sailing between his legs.
We looked at whaling ships in Part Two.
Now, Dr. Manhattan, after he experiences ego-death the second time, comes back as a looming colossus:
And he certainly goes together with Masons and ships sailing upon the sea:
"Includes Hollis Mason's tell-all: Under the Hood"
Venus, known as the light bearer, toying with our resurrected man:
"THE LIGHT IS TAKING ME TO PIECES"
And you tell me you think Jesus, on his Solar Sail, doesn't want to go to Venus?
To be concluded...
Ha! Their first album on Colossus